Dengue cases cross 500 in Phuentsholing

The hospital adds two more doctors and eight beds

Dengue cases in Phuentsholing General Hospital (PGH) have hit a record of more than 500 this year. Last year, only 20 cases were detected in the hospital.

The first case was detected on July 5 in the hospital. Since then the cases are on the rise. Around 30 cases are detected daily, according to Dr. Kinley Gyeltshen from the hospital.

Continuous downpour for weeks, unhygienic surroundings and stagnant water are the prime reasons for the fever cases to rise.  170 Dengue cases were detected from July 5 till August 4 in a survey conducted by Dr. Kinley Gyeltshen. Within the period, six cases were referred to Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital in Thimphu.

Amongst them most of the cases are detected from the people living across the bordering Jaigaon town. Around 55 out of 170 screened were from Jaigaon which contributes 32.3%. Around 21 cases were reported from the residents of lower market area in Phuentsholing. Almost all the residents in the core town area including Drungkhag and Bhutan Telecom colony tested positive for dengue fever. Some cases were reported from Pasakha and some rural pockets as well.  

With the highest number of cases from Jaigaon, hospital officials met with officials in Jaigaon, who were willing to take measures to control the fever. It is becoming impossible to prevent the disease if the Indian agencies do not take steps. The porous borders make it more contagious.

Dengue is spread by female aedes mosquito which breeds in clean water. Aedes aegypti, the yellow fever mosquito, is a mosquito that can spread dengue fever, chikungunya, Zika fever, Mayaro and yellow fever viruses, and other disease agents. The mosquito can be recognized by white markings on its legs and a marking in the form of a lyre on the upper surface of its thorax. 

The hospital has added one doctor each from Chhukha and Tsimalakha General Hospital due to the shortage of doctors. They will be in the hospital until the patients are treated and no new cases are detected.

The hospital and Thromde officials during their sensitization campaign of those detected houses have found that most of their residences have empty tyres and bottles outside which provided breeding sites for the mosquitoes. Also some store their water without lid at homes. 95 out of 170 cases have kept flower pots at their homes which are not inspected for water stagnation, according to Dr. Kinley Gyeltshen. โ€œThey are not much aware of the implication it would bring and we have created awareness among them,โ€ he said.

The hospital has encouraged community to participate to control and prevent the disease with the hospital and other sectors involved in preventing the disease. If not, the outbreak of the disease is expected to continue till November, Dr Kinley said. Records with Indian counterparts in Jaigaon has revealed the last outbreak lasted till November of the year. 

Due to the outbreak, PGH has added eight more trolley beds in the emergency ward. PGH meanwhile fogs to prevent the disease daily in the entire town every morning and evening.  

The patients would miss at least a week of their duty while being treated and taking rest. Dr. Kinley Gyeltshen has also recommended the Thromde to go for one time mass cleaning across the town to destroy the mosquitoes. Due to outbreak most of the staffs are working extra hours. Their working time has extended till 4pm from 3pm.

Krishna Ghalley from Phuentsholing