Much ado being made of two ‘monkey fever’ deaths: Parsekar

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Panaji, Feb 24 (IANS) Much ado is being made about deaths of two senior citizens, caused due to the rare Kyasanur Forest Disease (KFD), Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar said on Wednesday, adding both were beyond the state’s average mortality age of 70.

Health minister and deputy chief minister Francis D’Souza, who addressed a joint press conference with Parsekar, said the deaths were a result of complications caused by diabetes, along with KFD, referred to as ‘monkey disease’.

“Much is being made of two deaths. In Goa, average life of a citizen is 70 years. If one dies at 76 or 78, you cannot say he died of disease. It could be a natural death. Average life span (in Goa) is 70 years and after you cross 70 years, immunity is decreased,” Parsekar said.

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The last one month witnessed death of two senior citizens due to KFD, according to the state Directorate of Health Services in the remote sub district of Sattari, located near the thickly forested Western Ghat region.

KFD is caused by a similarly named virus which was first identified in 1957, when it was isolated 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 one year nearly 30 people have tested positive for KFD in the Sattari area. Two of the deceased had reported symptoms of monkey disease, state health officials have confirmed.

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Health Minister Francis D’Souza, however, said on Wednesday that both the deaths were caused due to complications caused by diabetes along with the presence of the KFD virus in the deceased.

“KFD was found in their body. It was a high diabetic patient. That was a major cause. It cannot be directly linked to KFD. So that is the issue. The cause of death is diabetes plus KFD. KFD has not been not a sole cause (for a death) till today. No one has died of KFD alone,” D’Souza said.

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