Chungkha Primary School in Chukha has reported 45 cases of skin infection outbreak with cases of scabies on June 6 among its students. The school is about 23kms away from Gedu highway.

The school health in-charge, Lhamo, said initially 10 students came to her with insect bites on their legs and complained of itching on May 3. She treated them with ointments.

“Students continued to come to me with the same problem so I informed the doctor at Chukha BHU,” Lhamo said. “Every evening, we wash the student’s legs with salt water.”

She said the students wear slippers to school from May 1 until October.

“Since they wear of slippers, their feet are open and students are bitten and stung by insects including leeches during morning assembly time and when they are out of class,” she said. “The insect bites then become infected.”

She said most often, the boy students get infected because half of their legs are exposed when they wear ghos. Of the 45 reported cases, about five are girls.

Every year, the school reports about 10 to 20 cases of skin infection during summer. However, she said this is the first time they are seeing an increase.

Of the 120 students in the school, about 80 are availing boarding facilities.

Lhamo said they treat the boarding students while day scholars are taken to the hospital by their parents. “We treat the boarding student at the school because if they go home, they miss classes for about two weeks and more absentees are reported.”

General duties medical officer (GDMO) with Chukha BHU, Dr Sandip Tamang, said a team from the Chukha BHU visited the school on June 7.

He said the students were given treatment and provided ointments. The students were also educated on good hygiene and sanitation. It takes about a week to 10 days for the skin infection to be treated.

“Initially, we were informed that about 15 students were infected. But, when we went to the school we found that about 40 students between six and 12 years have skin infection including a few with scabies,” Dr Sandip Tamang said.

He said health officials were informed earlier so the infections are not severe. Poor sanitation and hygiene are the likely cause of skin infection.

All infected students are now treated and no new cases were reported as of yesterday, he added.

Senior district health officer in Chukha, Gopal Hingmang, said most skin diseases occur due to poor skin hygiene and sanitation. It is important that people take regular bath, dry clothes in the sun and maintain proper hygiene.

“In a place like a school hostel, we often see poor hygiene and sanitation condition as the main reason for the spread of skin diseases,” Gopal Hingmang said. “Proper ventilation is also required.”

A team of health officials from Chukha BHU was in the school yesterday for ENT screening.

Dechen Tshomo