PUTRAJAYA: The Health Ministry has ruled out chemical contamination as the cause of death of several orang asli from the Bateq tribe in Kuala Koh village in Gua Musang, Kelantan.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad said this was following tests conducted by the ministry on two dead bodies and other patients who had visited nearby health facilities.
He said those who succumbed or are in an acute stage were all due to microorganism infection.
“It is safe to say that they did not die of chemical (infection). According to X-ray and other tests conducted, the victims died due to microorganism. The issue is whether it is primarily bacterial or viral infection,” he said today.
Dzulkefly said the ministry was now awaiting the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test to determine the microorganisms.
PCR is an extensive test used to determine the root cause and the diagnosis of infected persons.
Meanwhile, Dzulkefly said three new patients were warded at the intensive care unit, up from one on Monday, adding that police have cordoned off the village.
In total, 99 villagers have received treatment, more than half the total residents in the area.
Recently, it was reported that 14 individuals from the Bateq tribe suffered mysterious deaths since early May, with some claiming it was due to water pollution caused by mining activities.
The Health Ministry was able to confirm only two of those deaths through post-mortem as the remaining 12 bodies were buried in the jungle.