The number of people affected by the dengue outbreak in Doksum in Trashiyangtse has increased fourfold since the outbreak was reported on July 26 with 76 cases.
A total of 314 cases were reported from Doksum as of yesterday evening. Most cases presented fever, joint pain, headache and generalised body pain as symptoms.
Of the 29 samples of acute undifferentiated febrile illness or dengue fever that was sent from Trashiyangtse hospital to the Royal Centre for Disease Control (RCDC) in Thimphu, 11 tested positive for dengue virus antibody.
According to RCDC, this confirms the dengue virus as the causative agent of the outbreak in Doksum.
About 61 cases were admitted to Trashiyangtse hospital for observation and management as of yesterday. Of the two who were referred to Mongar Regional Referral hospital, a 20-year-old man died on July 31 due to severe dengue complications.
Health officials said that all reported cases have recovered including those who were admitted for observation and supportive management.
All outbreak cases are indigenous meaning locally transmitted by the dengue vector.
While active case detection is ongoing in Doksum, health officials continue to conduct vector survey and thermal fogging to control dengue vectors (Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus) in outbreak areas.
Health officials are conducting awareness programmes to educate people on source reduction of dengue vector larvae like protecting stored water, emptying and taking care of containers such as plastic bottles, tyre, bamboo sticks in the surrounding environment.
This is the first time dengue fever outbreak is reported in Doksum. Officials said that the presence of dengue vector was reported in 2014-2015 vector survey by the Vector-borne Disease Control Programme.
“Somebody needs to introduce dengue virus to cause an outbreak in the community,” the officials said. “Our hypothesis is that someone from Doksum must have travelled to Phuentsholing and got infected and introduced the virus in Doksum. Or it could be that someone living in Phuentsholing, infected with dengue virus, visited the place and introduced the virus.”
More information needs to be collected from first few cases to answer the hypotheses, the officials said.
People are advised to wear full sleeve shirts and pants, especially during the day, dawn and dusk, and to keep the surroundings clean, get rid of stagnant water bodies, and to use mosquito repellants or nets.
People are asked to report to the nearest health facility if they have sudden, high fever, severe headaches accompanied by pain behind the eyes, severe joint and muscle pain, fatigue, nausea, vomiting and skin rash appearing two to five days after the onset of fever.