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Beef up measures to address the alarming situation

The threat of dengue is real and alarming. With the recent outbreak of cases reported in six southern dzongkhags, the Ministry of Health has put in place various control measures to curb the spread of the virus.

Dengue is a debilitating and sometimes life-threatening disease caused by mosquitoes infected with the dengue virus. The symptoms of the disease include fever, headache, muscle, and joint pains, and a rash. The virus is transmitted to humans through the bites of infected Aedes mosquitoes.

Bhutan has had a history of dengue outbreaks. The biggest outbreak occurred in 2019, with over 5,000 cases and six deaths. The present situation, with 40 reported cases in just two dzongkhags, is a cause for concern. The ministry has rightly taken preventive measures such as surveillance, public awareness and cleaning campaigns to prevent the further spread of the virus.

The dzongkhags that are vulnerable to dengue are those that have already faced several seasonal and tropical diseases. These areas are prone to dengue, and it is essential that residents take the necessary steps to prevent the breeding of mosquitoes.

The most effective way to prevent dengue is to eliminate the breeding grounds of mosquitoes. Simple household measures such as removing standing water in containers or ponds, keeping the surroundings clean, and taking necessary measures to prevent mosquito bites can go a long way in preventing an outbreak.

The health ministry has recommended that the southern dzongkhags initiate community and multi-sectoral involvement to control the spread of the virus. It is essential that residents take ownership of the problem and work together to prevent further cases. The ministry’s efforts to increase public awareness, conduct cleaning campaigns, and step up vector surveillance and capacity building for clinical dengue management are commendable initiatives.

However, there is always more that can be done. The responsibility to control and prevent the spread of the virus does not only lie with the government and health officials but also with each individual citizen.

We need to understand that dengue is not just another seasonal illness but a severe health threat that can cause long-term health problems in those who have been affected.

The government and health officials can only do so much. It is up to each citizen to take responsibility for their health and the health of their communities.