English | Dzongkha Wednesday, October 18, 2017

One succumbs to JE, another in ‘critical’ condition


Aug 21, 2014

Japanese Encephalitis.A 20-year old man has succumbed to Japanese Encephalitis (JE) at the Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital last week, health officials have confirmed. The deceased was referred from Punakha, paralysed. Another three-year old baby has been referred from Trongsa. Doctors say she is in ‘critical condition’.

According to a Paediatrician, Dr. Kinley Tshering, she suffered continuously for two days with high fever, head and muscle aches and nausea. She was then referred to Thimphu after she started developing seizures.

“She was referred after she couldn’t move her limbs and arms. She is now in critical condition,” the doctor said. It has been about a month now and she has been put in the Intensive Care Unit.

A great cause of concern

The Chief Programme Officer of the Department of Public Health, Dr. Karma Lhazin, said the prevalence of the JE in a small country like Bhutan is a great cause of concern. “We are concerned as we assumed JE would occur in the southern region.”

Asked if the disease is communicable, Dr. Karma Lhazin said, the JE virus is not transmitted from person-to-person. Mosquitoes that become infected by feeding on animals spread the virus on to humans.


The JE has a mortality rate of about 30-40 percent and about 30-50 percent of those who survive normally live with neurological complications. The doctors advise the general public not to take for granted, as a lot of the symptoms mimic the signs of a common cold and cough and diarrhoea.

“If the cold and headache stays for long, it is best to visit the hospital,” said Dr. Kinley Tshering.

The best way to prevent JE is to use mosquito nets, mosquito repellent creams and wear long sleeves whenever possible. People are also advised not to allow stagnant water pools in and around their residential places.

Health records show JE is a rare disease but not new in Bhutan. In 2011, there were three cases reported and two cases in 2013. The health officials said they have vaccines in stock should there be an outbreak.

The JE, an inflammation of the human brain, is a vector borne disease.

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