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Malaria High mosquito density in Phuentsholing 2004
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Malaria in Bhutan
Report: 2004 - High mosquito density in Phuentsholing
Spraying of delta methrine and fogging are being carried out regularly in Phuentsholing town to control the high mosquito density and prevent a further spread of Dengue fever. Starting July 1, the Phuentsholing hospital recorded 1393 cases till July 15 with complaints of fever with body ache, rashes, vomiting and bleeding.

Laboratory results of the blood samples sent to Kolkata and Bangkok confirmed the outbreak as Dengue fever on July 14. Eight samples were tested Dengue positive out of 23 samples sent. Three samples out of 14 also tested positive for German measles Rubella.
A survey conducted by health officials found the mosquito density in Phuentsholing "very high" with an average of eight mosquitoes assailing an individual in an hour.

It also showed that the dengue mosquito and their larvae were found in households in places where water was stored for domestic use and around workshops with tyres lying around, bamboo stumps used in construction and in discarded containers like tins and coconut shells that held water.

Unlike the nocturnal malaria transmitting mosquito which breeds in dirty water, the dengue mosquito breeds in clean water and bites during the day. The dengue mosquito also feeds several times at a stretch and does not rest after a single feed unlike the malaria mosquito Dr Karma Lhazin said.

The outbreak in Phuentsholing is the first Dengue confirmed outbreak in Bhutan. "But we cannot say it did not exist before, it is just that people were never effected in this magnitude before," said Dr Tapas Gurung from the department of Public health.

A team of medical experts from the public health is in Phuentsholing town trying to contain the outbreak by creating awareness across the town and aiding the local health personnel to carry out mosquito control measures.
Doctors say that residents of Phuentsholing are more prone to dengue than travellers.

Dengueis of four subtypes and unlike other viral infections where one develops an immunity for the disease after one infection, infection of one subtype does not render immunity for the next subtype.

"The Phuentsholing residents might have had the first subtype of dengue which almost passes unnoticed like a normal fever, therefore they are more prone to be infected again, and subsequent infection are more severe" Dr Karma Lhazin explained.Like most viral diseases, there is no specific medication for treatment of a dengue and DHF infection. Patients should take analgesic like Paracetamol, drink plenty of fluids and go to the nearest health facility.

Meanwhile, across the border the additional district magistrate of Alipurduar sub district has also informed the Phuentsholing dungkhag administration that necessary spraying measures have already been initiated in Jaigaon.

This article was contributed by KUENSEL, Bhutan's National Newspaper
External links
World Health Organization (WHO) World Meteorological Organization (WMO)
Information about Malaria
Malaria Vaccine Initiative
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