PUTRAJAYA: Six more cases of measles have been confirmed among the Orang Asli in Kg Kuala Koh but there are no new respiratory-related illnesses being reported as of Tuesday (June 18), says the Health Ministry.
The number of deaths remains at three, which were confirmed to be from measles.
With the six cases confirmed to be measles through laboratory tests, the number of the Bateq community in Gua Musang, Kelantan, reported to have measles rose to 43, said Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad at a press conference after the ministry's post-Cabinet meeting Thursday (June 20).
From June 3 to 18, respiratory-related illnesses in the village reported to the Kelantan Health Department remained at 113 cases, he said.
On June 18, there were 53 cases being treated in hospital; 51 in normal wards and two in the Intensive Care Unit, while another 12 cases with mild symptoms were handled by the Orang Asli Health Lodging (RIKA) in Gua Musang and another seven at the National Service Training Centre, Dr Dzulkefly said.
He added that the post-mortem results of the 12 bodies exhumed will be ready in two or three days.
"The situation is very much under control," he said when asked if the measles outbreak in the Bateq community had tapered off.
The Orang Asli community has come under the spotlight following the deaths of 15 of their people since May.
On Sunday (June 16), a three-year-old toddler from the community died due to measles and pneumonia with multi-organ failure.
Dr Dzulkefly also said that there were no new cases among the Orang Asli in Kg Gerdon, Ulu Terengganu and Kg Ulu Sat in Jerantut, Pahang.
Following the outbreak, the district health office had carried out immunisation among the community and surrounding residents.
Meanwhile, Dr Dzulkefly denied there was delay in action.
"The ministry received the report about the outbreak on June 3.
"On the same day, the team from the Gua Musang district health department and the Orang Asli Development Department (Jakoa) had gone into the village and detected 29 Orang Asli with respiratory infections.
"All of them were brought to the Aring and Chiku Health Clinics for treatment," he said, adding that an outbreak was declared the same day and control measures were carried out.
He said that on June 8 again, the Health team with the police and Jakoa had gone into the village after hearing about the Orang Asli deaths on social media.
Fifty-four villagers with respiratory illness symptoms were brought to the Chiku Health Clinic for treatment, Dr Dzulkefly said.
"At the same time, the team discovered two graves and managed to get a list of 13 deaths that occurred from May 2 onwards," he said.
At the time, the 12 deaths could not be confirmed until police did a search on June 11.
Dr Dzulkefly urged the public not to make any unverified accusations.
On the air pollution in Pasir Gudang, Johor, he said that the Crisis Preparedness and Response Centre and the state Health Department staff were on the ground to monitor the situation.
When asked if schools would be shut down, he said it would depend on the level of exposure and toxicity.
Earlier, about 15 students from Sekolah Agama Taman Mawar in Pasir Gudang suffered breathing difficulties and vomiting believed to be caused by air pollution.
Five of them have been sent to Sultan Ismail Hospital for further medical treatment.