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Most of the infected were students of Wangdicholing lower secondary school
Most of the infected were students of Wangdicholing lower secondary school

H1N1 outbreak under control

The recent Influenza A- H1N1 outbreak in Bumthang is under control with the number of infected people visiting hospital declining from 30 to 35 a day to about a dozen these days.

Since the first case was reported on April 8, about 227 people were reported to have been infected by influenza A H1N1 pandemic 2009 causing seasonal flu.

Of the total infected, around 90 percent were students of Wangdicholing lower secondary school (WLSS), Bumthang. The first incident was reported on April 8 when 45 students did not come to school. Some were sent home and some referred to hospital.

Medical Officer of Wangdicholing hospital Dr Pema Wangchuk said the samples from the infected were sent to the Royal Center for Disease Control for investigation, which confirmed the disease as Influenza A- H1N1. However, the doctor said it is a normal seasonal flu that occurs every year, especially during early spring and winter.

Signs and symptom of influenza are fever, cough, headache, muscle and joint pains, sore throat and runny nose, sometimes with vomiting and diarrhoea.

Students are infected easily mainly because of congestion, lack of hand hygiene practice and not having preventive measures for cough, according to health officials. The hospital organised advocacy and preventive measures to avoid further spreading of the disease.

As per the report from WLSS, about 64 infected students could not attend regular classes until April 15. Although the number decreased, there are students not being able to attend classes while some teachers were also infected.

This is the second consecutive outbreak. Last winter more than 350 people were infected by the same virus.

The current outbreak falls under the moderate category, where preventive measure and sensitization programme and treatment could work.

Nim Dorji | Bumthang

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