With 13 cases reported to the hospital, the Royal Centre for Disease Control (RCDC) concluded that there is typhoid outbreak in a private apartment building in Changzamtok, Thimphu.

The affected people, aged three and a half to 50 years, were mostly students and housewives. They complained of suffering from fever and headache.

A microbiologist, Tshering Dorji, said that on June 21, RCDC was notified that three patients were diagnosed with Salmonella Paratyphi B and one suspected in the Jigme Dorji Wangchuk National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH).

All patients confirmed that they live in the same building in Changzamtok.

A team, comprising a public health professional, clinical officer and laboratory personnel from RCDC, then investigated to check if the same water source may lead transmission of the disease to other residents and determine the risk factors of the outbreak for implementing evidence-based prevention and control measures.

It was found out that it occurred from June 5 to 23.

The team also found out that the building was supplied with water from both private source and City Corporation.

A report issued by RCDC stated that laboratory testing found out the water supplied from private water source was polluted. “The drinking water should be free of an indicator of bacteria to be safe for consumption.”

The report also stated that it recommended the house owner to refrain drinking water from the private source and to shield the reservoir tank with a tight lid to protect from litter, sewer and waste water.

“The tenants must drink boiled water and refrain from drinking water directly from the tap,” the report recommended. “City Corporation should reinforce the water supply regulation in the city and monitor its compliance.”

RCDC, the report states, should scale up water quality surveillance and provide health education on knowledge awareness of the paratyphoid fever and its prevention and control measures.

Meanwhile, the residents of the building said the owner had to provide water from private source because the water provided by City Corporation was not enough.

A woman, who did not want to be named, said they boil water but because it is contagious, they also fall sick.

The first patient was her six-year-old son and it spread to her father and husband.

She said two people staying in the building are still in the hospital.

Tashi Dema