Dengue has been rapidly spreading worldwide, resulting in higher morbidity than other vector-borne viral diseases. My research aimed to describe the epidemiological characteristics and investigate the vulnerability to dengue in Bhutan.
Bhutan is hyper-endemic with multiple dengue virus (DENV) serotypes, notably DENV-4 is not yet reported. In 2019, the country experienced the worst dengue epidemic characterized by widespread spatial distribution and high reproductive number (>30) coinciding with the monsoon season. Bayesian analysis identified a positive association between dengue and individuals aged >14 years and temperature, while normalized difference vegetation index was negatively associated with dengue incidence. Spatial risk analysis pointed out different geographical locations including the nation’s capital at risk of dengue.
In terms of the clinical characteristics, children, secondary infection and patients with pre-existing co-morbidities were shown to have an increased risk for severe dengue. Physician’s online survey revealed critical gaps on clinical dengue management and practices among medical practitioners in the country. This information will be crucial for planning of dengue prevention and control by the public health authorities in the country.
Tsheten is a keen public health professional with over ten years of working experience in the field of infectious diseases. He completed his B.Sc. Allied Health Sciences from India (2005-2010) and Master in Public Health from Thailand (2015-2016). He worked on various research projects including influenza, tuberculosis, enteric diseases, and antimicrobial resistance, and investigated various disease outbreaks. He also contributed actively in national health surveys, vaccination campaigns and pedagogical approaches in public health. He is currently working on the epidemiology of dengue in Bhutan as his PhD research. While pursuing his PhD program, his journey was enriched with a blend of professional development activities including voluntary tutorials/marking for postgraduate students and as a member of NCEPH student conference committee at ANU.