Nima Wangdi

Many people are suffering from a severe flu-like sickness across the country at the moment. But many don’t visit hospitals for a test suspecting Covid-19 infections.

The symptoms comprise severe cough with chest pain, headache, stuffy nose, fever, sore throat, and body aches.

Thukten, 32 said that all of his family members are sick at home. “If one family member gets infected, the rest catch it fast.”

Another resident, Choden said her mother was bedridden for at least a day and still recovering. Her niece is suffering from a fever and could not go to school. She said the flu is severe compared to before and it stays for a longer time.

Head of the Royal Centre for Disease Control, Dr Sonam Wangchuk said it is flu season and there could be many cases. People may be suffering from both Covid-19 and the influenza virus.

“We did not have influenza for the past two years due to the Covid-19 interventions. People wore masks and avoided crowds,” Dr Sonam Wangchuk said that the country is returning to normalcy now and the influenza is back.

He said that Influenza A (H3) is predominantly in circulation today and there are outbreaks in schools and communities. “We are monitoring the situation but can’t rule out the severity.”

Bhutan has two flu seasons in a year, one during the monsoon and the other in winter according to Dr Sonam Wangchuk. Winter flu seasons start from October till February and monsoon flu season falls somewhere in the months of July and August.

He said the infected persons should stay home for at least three days to stop the spread of the virus to others. He said the people should visit the hospital if the symptoms got severe.

He also said that the risk group will be given an annual flu vaccine from November this year. Elderly people, people with medical conditions, health workers, children from six to 24 months, and pregnant women are categorised as risk groups.