One of three samples confirmed first Chikungunya case in Bhutan

Out of three clinically confirmed samples in Samtse, one sample confirmed the mosquito-borne disease Chikungunya after the laboratory test conducted in Bangkok.

This is the first-ever confirmed case of the disease in the country.

Public Health Laboratory’s (PHL) head Sonam Wangchuk said all the 14 samples received from Phuentsholing and Samtse had been sent to Bangkok yesterday forPolymerase chain reaction (PRC) tests including the samples found negative after Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) test done is PHL.

“The tests done in the PHL may miss a diagnosis, therefore test results of the samples which were negative has also been sent out,” he said. It would take a week to know the results.

With the recent outbreak in India particularly in West Bengal, cases symptomatic of  the disease was observed at the same time, in the South around the area. A health team is already on-site to look over the situation.

“Following this outbreak, to avoid it we have alerted all the border hospitals to collect the samples and find out whether this virus is circulating among population,” said the PHL head.

Since the disease is a viral infection, no antibodies are available for the treatment of Chikungunya, which is why the symptoms treated are only for fever, joint pains and body aches.

It is said that timely medical attention will help avoid complications. The symptoms of the disease usually lasts for a week but joint pain can go on for several weeks or months.

Biting is said to take place especially during the day and are known to be most active early in the morning and the late afternoon.

Summer, heat and rain are found to be key factors for the proliferation of mosquitoes.

Chikungunya, like malaria is said to spread all year round. Warm humid weather and stagnant water breeds the mosquitoes that carry the virus. Naturally, the number of Chikungunya cases increases during the monsoon season, the report stated.

Surveillance exercises are still in progress in the south to mitigate the disease. Visits at various places particularly in Samtse and Gomtu with social mobilization, Information, Education and Communication (IEC) on Chikungunya and other vector-borne diseases like malaria and dengue were carried out.

Also distributions of mosquito nets were done in Samtse by the health team along with other activities.

“As of yesterday our focus was in Singyegang and Kangduphu in Sibsoo where thermal fogging, community mobilization and IEC were done,” one of the health team members said.

“Next will be in Gomtu, we will be doing second round of thermal fogging.”

In absence of treatment for the disease, the most important thing is community participation and educating the people to fight against the disease.

Though the reported cases have reached 17 at the moment, there may be chances of some more cases left unreported.

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