Goa records seventh ‘monkey disease’ death

Panaji, March 11 (IANS) The Kyasanur Forest Disease (KFD) also known as “monkey disease” has claimed its seventh victim in the remote sub-district of Sattari.

Speaking to reporters, state epidemiologist Utkarsh Betodkar said 66-year-old Jayashri Gaonkar was the seventh person to succumb to the KFD disease, which is caused due to proximity of human beings to wild monkeys.

“Jayashri Gaonkar from Sattari died in hospital. She had been suffering from fever and loose motions and was identified as KFD-positive,” Betodkar said.

KFD was first identified in 1957 from a sick monkey from the Kyasanur forest in Karnataka.

Since the time of its discovery, around 400-500 people across western India have been infected by the rare disease which spreads through ticks, a parasite for which monkeys are common hosts.

Over the last two years, more than 130 people have tested positive for KFD, almost all of them in Sattari, which is located within the lower reaches of the Western Ghat mountain range in north eastern Goa.

With the KFD death toll rising, Vishwajit Rane, Congress legislator from Valpoi, located in Sattari, has warned the state health minister Francis D’Souza that if one more person from his constituency dies of KFD the remains would not be cremated, but would hauled to the minister’s residence.

“People in Sattari are dying (of KFD). Next time, we will not perform final rites, we will take the body to the minister himself. I am warning him,” Rane said.

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