Dengue fear looms in P/ling amid surge in Covid-19 cases

P/ling reported the first and the highest case of dengue in 2019

As the rainy season approaches in Phuentsholing, the usual dengue fear looms amid fear of coronavirus among residents here in the border town.

The Phuentsholing residents have now been urged to prepare for dengue, a mosquito-borne viral infection which continues to emerge and spread at this time of the year.

The border town of Phuentsholing has consistently seen dengue fever cases in the last six years.

It reported the first and the highest cases in 2019. Since the dengue outbreak in Phuentsholing on July 5, 2019, 4,300 dengue positive cases were reported till November 17, 2019, which includes two maternal deaths and six more deaths.

Prior to 2019, the highest in Phuentsholing was reported in 2016 with 857 positive cases, but no casualties were reported.

However, the Thromde Office and health sector say they have already set up plans and measures before the monsoon approaches.

According to the Thromde’s Executive Secretary, Lungten Jamtsho, the Thromde has already set up plans and measures for the prevention of dengue in Phuentsholing during the monsoon season.

He said everyone is focused on Covid-19 virus, but at the same time people should maintain hygiene in and around their community. “Everyone should be alert on dengue as the monsoon is approaching.”

According to the enclosed dengue control activity plan of the Thromde, it states there will be vector surveillance done with regular field visits by the Department of Medical Supplies (DMS) and team in high risk areas.

It also states that there will be awareness on source reduction and personal protection with the use of social media platforms. The Thromde has urged everyone to make use of mosquito nets and repellants.

It states that there will be distribution of long-lasting insecticidal nets and Odomos mosquito repellents to the point of entries and awareness on dengue and other vector borne disease by the Royal Bhutan Police (RBP) and DeSuups.

Talking about the dengue cases in recent years, Senior Health Officer of Phuentsholing Thromde, Passang Tshering said Bhutan has all species of vector mosquitoes, but the viruses could be imported from across the border as well as by the foreign workers from India.

“As long as our borders are closed, we will be safe of dengue and other vector borne diseases,” he added.

He said, “We need to be mindful of maintaining our surroundings along with public participation, which is the only measure to prevent dengue and other borne diseases.”

A Phuentsholing resident, Dorji said it’s time again to keep one’s surrounding clean as heavy rain during the monsoon with the hot weather give dengue mosquitoes places to breed.

Another resident, who has been in Phuentsholing for more than eight years, Ratna Bahadur Rai said the cases of dengue in the town is because of too many stagnant water, the failure of drainage system, uncleanliness and pollinated areas around the community.

He said mosquito nets usage and cleaning the environment and the stagnant water would help everyone.

Sonam Tashi from Phuentsholing