43 confirmed measles cases among Kuala Koh Batek tribesmen

20 Jun 2019 / 23:50 H.

PUTRAJAYA: A total of 43 cases from 113 cases involving the orang asli from the Batek tribe in Kuala Koh, Gua Musang in Kelantan, have been confirmed as measles, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad said.

Of the 113 patients as of Tuesday, 53 were still being treated in hospitals, of which 51 were in regular wards and the other two are in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

Another 12 with mild symptoms were placed at the Orang Asli Homestay (Rika) in Gua Musang, and seven more were at the Gua Musang National Service Training Centre, with the number of deaths remaining at three.

“The latest lab results of post-mortem on two cases tested positive for measles,“ he said in a press conference at his ministry here today.

Dzulkefly said post-mortem on another 12 bodies found were carried out and samples were sent to the laboratory, and the results expected soon.

Dzulkefly said no new cases of measles were reported in the orang asli community in Kg Gerdong, Hulu Terengganu and Kampung Ulu Sat, Jerantut, Pahang.

On allegations by some quarters claiming that the measles outbreak was not the cause of the orang asli deaths in Kuala Koh, he said they should not make any claims without strong evidence.

“They cannot simply make claims about this thing. This must be objectively determined by tests and must have solid, empirical value,“ he said.

He also denied allegations that his ministry was slow in taking action to handle the measles outbreak among the orang asli in Kuala Koh, but stressed that news of the epidemic was only received by the Health Ministry on June 3.

“On the same day the team from the Gua Musang District Health Office and the Orang Asli Development Department (Jakoa) had gone to the village and detected 29 orang asli residents who had symptoms of respiratory tract infection.

“The epidemic has been declared on that day and preventive and control measures were taken the same day,“ he said. — Bernama

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