Damphu hospital will send blood samples to the Royal Centre for Disease Control (RCDC) in Thimphu to confirm the outbreak of influenza in one of the schools in Tsirang.

Early this week, more than 25 students of Tsholingkhar Primary School reported high fever. Following a request from the school, health officials conducted influenza screening. A teacher was found H1N1 positive.

Doctor Sonam Phuntsho of Damphu hospital said the teacher is suspected to have contacted virus from his children, who tested positive.

Principal of the School, Kinley Tshewang, said that the students who complained of high fever have not attended school in the last few days.

Royal Centre for Disease Control’s chief laboratory officer, Sonam Wangchuk, said that last week alone, at least 130 cases of suspected influenza were received in Damphu hospital. Of that, nine samples were tested at the RCDC and eight-tested positive for influenza. Of the eight, six tested positive for influenza ‘A’ H1N1 virus, other two tested positive for H3N2 virus.

The week before last, at least 80 cases were reported in Damphu hospital.

Sonam Wangchuk explained the positive tests are predominant strain of the 2009 influenza outbreak. At this time of the year, influenza cases are higher across the country.

Damphu hospital is a regular surveillance site of the RCDCH and blood samples are tested every week.

“Damphu hospital has high predominant strain of the 2009 influenza outbreak,” Sonam Wangchuk said, adding that this strain is causing increased cases of infection.

Health officials in Damphu have advised Tsholingkhar Pry School to immediately practice preventive measures should there be any signs and symptoms.

Nirmala Pokhrel | Tsirang