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40,457 cases of respiratory illness cases in the first quarter of this year

Records from hospitals across the country show that the highest number of cases reported till April was Acute Respiratory Illness (ARI) syndrome followed by Acute Watery Diarrhea (AWD) syndrome, Acute Bloody Diarrhea (ABD) syndrome, Severe Acute Respiratory Tract Infection (SARI) Syndrome and fever with rash syndrome.

Of the total of 40,457 cases reported of respiratory illness, 98.5% were Acute Respiratory Illness cases and 1.5% Severe Acute Respiratory Illness (SARI) cases as per this year’s first quarter report of Disease Surveillance Bulletin. The trend was compared to be slightly higher than last year in both the cases. It was studied that the first flu season of the year falls within the first 1-13 epidemiology week. Highest numbers of cases was reported the western part of the country and from Samtse district.

A similar trend was observed in previous year for most diseases and syndrome except increase incidence for of fever with rash (FWR) syndrome.

The high incidence of ARI and SARI was reported among the younger population below the age of 5 years. However, high incidence of SARI was also reported for elderly age above 65 years. “Maximum cases of ARI and SARI are consistently observed in this same age group,” states the report.

The main causes of respiratory infection are acute pharyngitis, ear infection, common cold, bronchitis and pneumonia.

The cases of diarrheal syndrome were reported to be the second highest with 7469 cases reported so far of which, 88.5% were acute watery diarrhea (AWD) syndrome and 11.5% acute bloody diarrhea (ABD) syndrome.  The high incidences of AWD and ABD syndrome were observed in the younger population and highest number of cases was reported from Wangduephodrang, Thimphu, Chukha and Pemagatshel.

The fever and rashes syndrome was mostly reported among younger population below the age of 5 and among the elderly population above the age of 65. The increase was mainly attributed due to several outbreaks of chickenpox and increased number of suspected measles reported from health centers across the country. The maximum fever with rashes cases were reported from health centers under Paro dzongkhag.

However, among immediately notifiable diseases, the maximum cases reported was suspected measles case during 1-13 epidemiology week followed by laboratory confirmed malaria cases. “Since the country has already eliminated measles, case-based investigation of every laboratory confirmed case mandatory to trace the source of infection and classify the case accordingly,” the report stated.

The Active case finding through contact tracing was carried out by RCDC and district rapid response team respectively. Through investigation and active case finding, 34 contacts were investigated. From a total of 48 serum samples from 14 suspected reported and 34 contacts cases tested in RCDC, 17 were laboratory confirmed. Measles infection was reported by five districts and majority cases reported by Phuntsholing Hospital and followed by Samtse Hospital. The evidence from epidemiological investigation however linked it as imported or import-related cases as source was acquired from India.

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