MALACCA: An outbreak of a serious diphtheria bacterial infection is feared in the Ujong Pasir area here following the death of seven-year-old K. Durgasini on June 18.
State Public Affairs, Human Resources and NGO Affairs committee chairman Datuk M.S. Mahadevan said he was informed by state Health department that the preliminary finding indicates the child has succumbed to the bacterial infection.
"The Health department has worked promptly to contain the outbreak that could spread via air,"he said when contacted on Tuesday.
The state Health department director Datuk Ghazali Othman confirmed that Durgasini’s death was due to diphtheria.
Mahadevan said two of Durgasini's other siblings Agateya and Karthirsan were rushed to Malacca Hospital after being infected with the same symptoms.
"However, the two children is out of danger and could be discharged in next two or three days," he said.
He said two pupils of a vernacular school where Durgasini was studying were also warded on Monday on suspicion of contracting the infection but were later placed as non risk patients.
Durgasini and her siblings were highlighted in The Star on May 10 where the family lived in a deplorable condition without toilet and cooking facilities.
Kota Melaka MIC division later helped the family with rental at an adjourn house to enable them to answer nature’s call.
Mahadevan said the Health Department is also monitoring the situation in Ujong Pasir.
"The state government is also aware of the widespread message cautioning people to keep away from Ujong Pasir but for now I could assure the Health Department is ensuring the situation doesn't reach to an epidemic level," he said.
Diphtheria is a serious bacterial infection that affects the mucous membranes of the throat and nose.
Although it spreads easily from one person to another, diphtheria can be prevented through the use of vaccines.
In advanced stages, diphtheria can damage the heart, kidneys and nervous system of an infected person
The infection rate is also higher for children under the age of 15.