MIRI: A two-year old girl has died of suspected diphtheria infection in Miri Hospital.
The incident was confirmed by three parties, namely the state assemblyman, divisional health department and Miri Hospital management.
Senadin state assemblyman Datuk Lee Kim Shin, who is Assistant State Minister for Tourism, Culture and Arts, told The Star on Friday he had been notified of the case.
"I have verified the information with the Miri Divisional Health Department and also Miri Hospital Director Dr Jack Wong.
"Both parties confirmed that the child died on March 14 in the hospital.
"Initial indications showed that the death was due to severe complications from diphtheria but further tests are needed to ascertain the exact cause," he said.
It is believed that the toddler was admitted to the hospital about a week ago.
The Health Ministry in Putrajaya also issued a statement Friday to confirm the death.
The statement said checks showed that the victim was not vaccinated after birth.
"Initial probe showed that the parents refused to vaccinate their baby against diphtheria due to religious beliefs," it said.
Diphtheria is a bacterial infection that can be transmitted from one person to another via close contact, usually through respiratory droplets carried into the air from coughing or sneezing.
Diphtheria bacteria could pose a risk to children with a weakened immune systems, or those without the antibodies needed to fight the infection, which are only present after being immunised.