Lhakpa Quendren

Gelephu – Sarpang reported four malaria cases on August 28 after a gap of about two years with zero malaria case in the dzongkhag.

Two cases each were reported from a family in Shechamthang under Gakiling and Pelrithang Khatoed in Gelephu on the same day.

According to the Vector-borne Disease Control Programme (VDCP) in Gelephu, the two cases from the Shechamthang are imported as the patients had a travel history to bordering towns of India.

The source of infection for the two patients from the Pelrithang is still under investigation.

Tobgyel, the head of the VDCP, said that patients’ recent travel history will be checked through Checkpost Management System (CPMS). “We need to investigate to trace the source of the infection.”

He said that currently there is no major risk associated with it. “However, if more cases are detected within a month, there will be further transmission in the community.”

The two patients from Shechamthang were discharged from the hospital after three days. Two patients from the Pelrithang are currently being treated at the Gelephu Central Regional Referral Hospital (CRRH).

Following the detection of the cases, public health responses and containment measures were put in place with constant monitoring of the situation.

Tobgyel said that screenings were conducted in areas located within 500 metres of the affected areas. “People with fever were immediately tested for malaria in addition to a random testing. No positive cases have been found.

“We have also informed all residents to immediately visit the hospital if they have a fever or any other symptoms,” he added. “We will conduct weekly inspections in those risk areas and find out if there are vectors present in the community.”

The Ministry of Health’s advisory notification states that travel across the border for business and pleasure increases the risk of malaria transmission.

“The recent intermittent monsoon shower has posed a greater risk in disease transmission, which has aggravated the outbreak situation in the malaria endemic dzongkhags,” it stated.