Two men and a woman were rushed to Bajo hospital in Wangdue on June 11 after they got sick from eating watermelon.

Dr Choney Wangmo of Bajo Hospital said Samthang Technical Training Institute staff brought them to the hospital at around 12:45pm on Monday. “All three were in critical condition when they were brought in. They had high-grade fever.”

While blood pressure (BP) of both the men aged 29 and 54 years were low, the 29-year-old woman’s BP was not measurable, which means it is very low and critical, Dr Choney Wangmo added.

According to the patients’ statement, the family bought some fruits including a watermelon on Saturday. The family ate the half the melon in the afternoon of the same day. They had the other half the next day.

Dr Choney Wangmo said the family had also bought some local sausages, which only the woman and her mother ate. The woman told the doctor that she had mild abdomen pain from Sunday morning and around 8pm, the woman, her husband, and her father started vomiting and having diarrhoea.

According to sources, the mother left for Phuentsholing on Sunday afternoon.

The mother called one of their neighbours to check on them when none of them answered her calls. All three were found unconscious at home. The family has an infant who is about a year old.

Dr Choney Wangmo said: “We fed the baby and she is all right now.”

She said the woman might have taken more of the fruit because she was brought in shock and suffered kidney injury.

Shock is a medical emergency in which the organs and tissues do not receive adequate flow of blood. This deprives the organs and tissues of oxygen and allows the buildup of waste products. It can result in serious damage to organs or even death.

Chief medical officer Dr Dorji Tshering said kidney injury can be reversed if treated on time.

Dr Choney Wangmo said all the patients were given treatment and are kept in the emergency unit under close monitoring.

The food suspect is watermelon because all of them had eaten it. Samples of leftover, blood, stool and vomit were sent to the Royal Centre for Disease Control in Thimphu to confirm the cause of the sickness.

Dr Choney Wangmo said patients are now out of danger. “All their vitals are okay. We are continuing with the antibiotics and they are still kept under observation.”

She said BAFRA was also informed about the case because it was related to food.

Health officials suspect food poisoning as the cause of the sickness.

Dechen Tshomo