7,664 cases of dengue reported

Headline Health

As of August 29, the health ministry recorded 7,664 total cases suspected for dengue fever from 18 Dzongkhags with 87% of the cases from Phuentsholing alone – the epicenter of dengue outbreak.

The recent outbreak of dengue has reached 18 Dzongkhags (excluding Lhuentse and Bumthang) due to mobility of people from the two affected areas.

 “Most of the dengue cases reported was through indigenous transmission from Duksum in Trashiyangtse and Phuentsholing in Chhukha, and secondary transmission has not happened in other Dzongkhags apart from these two areas,” said Director, Department of Public Health, Health Ministry, Karma Lhazeen, said during a dengue awareness workshop yesterday. 

It was found that tiger mosquito (Aedes aegypti), primary vector of dengue was thriving in these two affected areas.

“Patient safety and wellbeing of the population is the top most priority of the health ministry,” said Health Minister, Dechen Wangmo.

She also asked schools to sensitize on vector borne diseases and on strengthening outbreak control and surveillance system.

Approximately 430 cases required hospital admission for management and four cases led to death.

Health Secretary Dr. Ugen Dophu, said the rise in number of cases depends on the degree of transmission and mosquito breeding ultimately related to high rainfall, humidity, and temperature. 

Dr. Ugen Dophu said the dengue is not deadly unless there are other complications like cancer, diabetes, heart diseases.

Of the four deaths due to dengue this year, an 85-year-old woman had some infection and was bedridden and a 26-year-old girl had a heart problem.

One died in Phuentsholing and another was referred to JWDNRH from Phuentsholing.

Phuntsholing in Chukha Dzongkhag saw the first dengue case on July 5 followed by a case in Duksum, Khamdang on July 26.

Of the total, 1,989, (26%) cases were diagnosed dengue positive by Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT), 77% cases were from Phuentsholing and 16 dengue positive cases developed dengue hemorrhagic fever.

While, of total 133 samples for dengue positive cases tested at Royal Center for Disease Control (RCDC) to rule out other pathogens, 10 cases tested positive for Chikungunia.

The circulating dengue strain is dengue virus-3 (DENV-3), while in 2016-17, it was strain DENV-1 and DENV-2 and the DENV-1, DENV-2 and DENV-3 strain in 2013-14.

From July 1 to August 25, approximately 70 to 80 fever cases were managed at the emergency unit of Phuentsholing hospital.

While, 15 cases were referred to JDWNRH from Phuentsholing and majority of the cases reported from other districts has travel history to Phuentsholing prior to their illness.

Dr. Karma Lhazeen said the ministry conducted house to house surveillance and mass cleaning campaigns in affected areas.

On preventing dengue, Dr. Ugen Dophu urged people to cooperate with health officials to check their homes and surroundings and do fogging.

Additionally, he advised using freely distributed chemically treated mosquito nets, mosquito repellents, and to wear long sleeves and pants.

The health ministry conducted mass awareness in schools, people, and travelers through announcement in major public gathering places like parks and bus bookings, through posters and precautionary messages through Road Safety and Transport Authority and check posts.

There were also announcement in buses and taxi by drivers, besides preventive and precautionary messages aired on Bhutan Broadcasting Service and social media.

The ministry also included mass cleaning campaign by involving community, thermal fogging, and house-to-house surveillance.

pic courtesy: facebook (RoPG)

Thukten Zangpo from Thimphu

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