Volume 102, Issue 6
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



The initial cases of novel coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) in a country are of utmost importance given their impact on healthcare providers, the country’s preparedness response, and the initial molding of the public perception toward this pandemic. In Bhutan, the index case was a 76-year-old immunocompromised man who had traveled from the United States and entered Bhutan as a tourist. He presented initially with vague gastrointerestinal symptoms and later a cough. His atypical presentation led to a delay in diagnosis, but ultimately he was isolated and tested. On confirming the diagnosis of COVID-19, the patient was isolated in a separate hospital with a dedicated medical care team. All contacts were traced and quarantined. The patient’s respiratory status deteriorated despite broad-spectrum antivirals, antibiotics, and intensive supportive care. He required intubation and was given a trial of intravenous immunoglobulin to modulate his likely aberrant immune response. Subsequently, the patient’s clinical status improved, and after 8 days of hospitalization, he was transferred out of the country, where he recovered. This was a learning experience for the treating medical staff, the government, and the people of Bhutan.

[open-access] This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


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  • Received : 08 Apr 2020
  • Accepted : 13 Apr 2020
  • Published online : 20 Apr 2020
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