Dysentery outbreak in Chungkha Community in Chukha

The festivity spot where the merry turned sickly(Photo Courtesy:PHL)
The festivity spot where the merry turned sickly(Photo Courtesy:PHL)

A Shigella-like dysentery outbreak has affected some 25 people in Chungkha community under Chhukha Dzongkhag.

Shigella is a class or category of bacteria closely related to Salmonella. It causes disease in primates, but not in other mammals and is only naturally found in humans and apes. During infection, it typically causes dysentery.

In Chungkha, people started to get sick after the festivity gathering which took place on 13 March where some 31 people from the community gathered for festivity and feast.

Except for five people who escaped the disease, rest of them fell sick.

The first onset of illness in people started after two days where people started developing the signs and symptoms. The affected people visited the Chhukha Basic Health Unit (BHU) which turned out to be a bigger number from the same source in the community.

Considering it to be an outbreak in the community, on 19 March, Chhukha BHU grade I notified Public Health Laboratory (PHL), Department of Public Health under Ministry of Health (MoH) in Thimphu and on the same day the health team visited the field to study the case.

Patients were treated with antibiotics and people in the community were given advocacy on sanitation as well. PHL’s finding says, Shigella flexneri organism was identified from the stool samples collected from the people.

PHL’s Chief Sonam Wangchuk said, “Sanitation is the main factor in the case.”

Studying the scene, out of 31 people gathered, the attack rate is 80%, where 20 % which comes to six people escaped from the disease.

The PHL Chief explained there could be many factors how the six people didn’t show symptoms like others. Maybe the person might not have consumed the food items which other people had or even if he had, it might have been in small quantity and moreover it would also depend upon a person’s immune system.

Other reasons rested on a person’s proper hand washing or proper sanitation habits.

As of now, the people have recovered and they are back to normal. Among those who fell sick, adults were affected the most.

Chungkha Community has around 6 households.

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