Mystery illness in Orong more than nutritional deficiency, says medical official

Although a second probe was called into the Orong student deaths, people are worried and confused. This is because in Dec 2012, all the students who were affected had been boys. The theory at the time was that they were supposed to have suffered from nutritional deficiency disorder while the girls were survived because they were taking iron tablets. However, this has been proved otherwise this year, according to one of the medical officials from the team who visited the school last year.

Now three girls are suffering from the same disease.

The three girls were placed at Orong Higher Secondary School from Menjiwoong Lower Secondary School under Shingkharlauri gewog.

However, the principal of  the school,  Nima Wangchuk  feels that the  girls who are suffering had the problem since they were in their previous school.

“After the death of two students last year we along with the officials and the doctors included vitamins and improved their diet so I think it is a native or hereditary problem.”

A teacher’s spouse, is suffering from the mystery illness in Martshala Middle Secondary School, too but they are taking diet supplements and other necessary  treatment.

Dzongkhag Education Office of Samdrup Jongkhar Kinley Namgyel said that the real sickness the students are suffering from is yet to be known.

A shopkeeper in Orong said that, they are worried that other children will also be affected. Yesterday the three girls from the school were taken to Samdrup Jongkhar hospital for medical checkup.

In a meeting of Samdrup Jongkhar schools, the authorities have initiated to collect contributions from the parents so as to improve the students’ diet and improve the health of students. A comprehensive school health program is also being initiated under Ministry of Education to alleviate such problems.

Two of the affected girls were taken to the hospital on 5th May and they completed five courses of injections. But improvement is yet to be seen.

Dr Ugyen Wangdi, the only doctor in Samdrup Jongkhar said, “I along with the medical experts from Thimphu expected the cause of last year’s deaths to be due to nutritional deficiency.”

The doctor said that they suspected that nutritional deficiency had led to wet beriberi, a heart disease  that causes severe heart failure.

The authorities started administering  Vitamin B1 and B12  in schools from the start of the school session this  year.


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