PUTRAJAYA: Six more new cases of Orang Asli in Kg Kuala Koh confirmed to have been infected with measles were detected but there are no new respiratory-related illness cases, said the Health Ministry.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad said the fresh cases were confirmed based on laboratory tests. To date, the total number of Bateq people in Gua Musang, Kelantan, reported down with measles had risen to 43.
He said from June 3 to 18, the respiratory-related illness in the village reported to the Kelantan health department still remained at 113 cases. As of June 18, there were 53 cases being treated in hospital – 51 in the normal ward and two in the intensive care unit.
Twelve others with mild symptoms had been placed in the Orang Asli Health Lodging (RIKA) in Gua Musang and another seven at the National Service Training Centre, he said.
He said the result of the post-mortem on the two bodies exhumed from their graves would be ready within the next three days.
“The situation is very much under control,” he said the after the ministry’s post-Cabinet meeting.
The Bateq community has come under the spotlight following the deaths of 15 of them since May.
Three deaths had been confirmed to be the common measles, combined with a fragile immune system and severe malnutrition, have been cited as a possible cause of death.
Dzulkefly also said there were no new cases among the Orang Asli living in Kg Gerdon, Ulu Terengganu and Kg Ulu Sat in Jerantut, Pahang.
Following the outbreak, the district health office carried out immunisation among the Orang Asli community and those within its vicinity.
Dzulkefy said there was no delay in their probe on the Orang Asli measles outbreak in Kuala Koh as claimed by certain quarters.
“The ministry got to know the outbreak on June 3. On the same day, a team from the Gua Musang health district and the Orang Asli Development Department (Jakoa) had gone to the village and found 29 of them with respiratory infection.
“All of them were brought to the Aring and Chiku health clinics for treatment,” he said, adding an outbreak was declared the same day and control measures were carried out.
He said on June 8, again, the health team with the police and Jakoa had gone into the village after hearing about the Orang Asli’s deaths on social media.
Fifty-four villagers with respiratory illness symptoms were brought to the Chiku health clinic for treatment, he said.
“At the same time, the team discovered two graves and managed to get the list of 13 deaths which occurred from May 2,” he said.
Dzulkefly urged the public not to make any unverified accusations.