West Nile fever in Kerala: Health officials on high alert in Mysuru
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West Nile fever in Kerala: Health officials on high alert in Mysuru

May 19, 2024

Mysore/Mysuru: Against the backdrop of the emergence of West Nile Fever (WNF) in Kerala, H.D. Kote Health and Family Welfare Officer Dr. Gopinath and Taluk Health Officer Dr. T. Ravikumar, along with their team, inspected Bavali check-post along Kerala border on Mysuru-Manandavadi Road on Thursday.

Following previous outbreaks of COVID-19, Nipah and H5N1 avian influenza from across the border, there is a concern about the spread of West Nile Fever. The prevalence of West Nile Fever has been particularly high in Kerala, prompting increased vigilance in Mysuru region. Check-posts have been established in H.D. Kote Taluk to monitor vehicles entering and leaving the area.

An alert has been issued in Mysuru region regarding the emergence of West Nile Fever. Kerala reported its first case of West Nile Fever in 2011. The virus was subsequently detected in 2013, 2019 and 2022.

So far this year, at least 10 confirmed cases of West Nile Fever and two suspected deaths — one in Palakkad and the other in Thrissur — have been reported in the neighbouring State.

West Nile Fever is transmitted by mosquitoes infected with WNV. “The virus gets transmitted when Culex mosquitoes draw blood from infected birds. When these mosquitoes bite humans or animals, the virus gets transmitted again,” officials explained.

Those infected by WNV may experience symptoms such as fever, headache and body ache. In extreme cases, individuals may suffer from neurological complications like encephalitis (brain inflammation) and meningitis (inflammation of the brain and spinal cord membranes).

Currently, there is no vaccination against WNV, so people should protect themselves from mosquito bites.

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Dr. Ravi Kumar stated that healthcare and ASHA workers are conducting surveys. They are also implementing measures similar to dengue surveillance, including eliminating mosquito breeding sites, source reduction, and control activities through larval surveys and fogging in tribal hamlets close to Kerala border.

Volunteers from the Health Department and ASHA workers have been instructed to refer anyone showing symptoms of fever to the nearest Primary Health Centre.

They are also tasked with providing health education and reporting to the Taluk Health Officer’s Office daily.

During the inspection, Health Department volunteers Rajesh, Ravi Raj, Chandru, Ashok, Krishna, Pradeep, Raju, Shivakumar, Santosh, ASHA workers, members of the public, and others were present.

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