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Bhutan - A/H1N1 Hits a College

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  • Bhutan - A/H1N1 Hits a College

    Influenza A H1N1 Outbreak 7 June, 2010 - ?I?ve come here with both good and bad news,? Dr Shanti Ram of Trashigang hospital told the students of Sherubtse college, where there was an influenza A H1N1 outbreak on June 1.

    The bad news was the confirmation of H1N1 outbreak in the college; and the good news was that the outbreak was among a young and healthy group of the population. ?As long as your immunity is strong, there?s less chance of complications,? Dr Shanti Ram told Kuensel.

    The H1N1 flu is like the common cold, and there is nothing to panic about, according to the doctor. Fifteen students of Sherubtse college tested positive for H1N1.

    According to Dr Shanti Ram, there were an increasing number of acute respiratory infections in Kanglung BHU in May. So, on May 27, health officials went to the BHU with rapid influenza screening kits and collected 11 samples. ?One out of the 11 tested positive, but we weren?t sure whether it was H1N1 or not,? he said.

    The female student, who tested positive, was kept in isolation and given anti viral drugs.

    Meanwhile, about 16 samples, 15 from Kanglung and 1 from Trashigang were sent to Thimphu, of which 14 from Kanglung tested positive.

    Dr Shanti Ram and a few other health officials went to give health education to the students. ?I advised the students to wash hands frequently, avoid crowds and unnecessary travel,? he said. ?I?ve also given cough education, asking those suffering from cold and cough to use tissue and handkerchief while coughing.?

    The health officials also distributed safe masks to students on May 29.

    Health officials say that it is likely that the students might have caught the influenza from the business community in Kanglung, who cross borders in Samdrupjongkhar. ?But we?re yet to confirm it,? Dr Shanti Ram said.

    Influenza A H1N1 is curable and preventable through good hygienic practices, said Dr Shanti Ram. ?There?s nothing to panic about,? he said.

    The flu can, however, turn severe in people suffering from diabetes, heart diseases, and chronic smokers? diseases like bronchitis and lung diseases, and in pregnant women. It can cause complications in children below six years.

    Health education on H1N1 is being broadcast on the college radio station, and village gups were also sensitised about the influenza.

    Meanwhile, with the mid term starting Wednesday, most of Sherubtse?s 938 students are more worried about the exams than the flu. ?Few seem concerned, but most are busy studying,? said a second year IT student.

    Still to be on the safe side, Trashigang hospital has requested the department of public health to supply more masks, which students could use if they wanted to during the mid term examination.

    By Tashi Dema