PUTRAJAYA: As many as 37 of the 112 Orang Asli Batek people in Kampung Kuala Koh, Gua Musang, Kelantan, who are reported to be suffering respiratory tract infections, have contracted measles, said Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad.
He said these cases were confirmed by laboratory tests while the results for other diseases like tuberculosis, melioidosis, leptospirosis and corona virus were negative.
“Based on the laboratory results, the Orang Asli in Kampung Kuala Koh are infected with measles,” he told reporters after attending a meeting with 1440H/2019 haj medical officers here today.
He said the contributing factor for the spread of measles among the Orang Asli community was their low resistence coverage at only 61.5 per cent for the first dose of the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine and 30 per cent for the second dose injection.
“The health team has difficulty providing comprehensive health services because of the way of life of this tribe which is always moving. The lack of nutrients has also contributed to the risk of infection and complications,” he said.
Dr Dzulkefly said of the 112 Orang Asli cases, the Health Ministry recorded three deaths, with the latest victim being a boy aged 2 years six months, due to complications from measles.
He added that of the 112 cases, 51 were still warded in hospitals, including three in the Intensive Care Unit.
Another 19 mild cases were at the Orang Asli Health Homestay in Gua Musang and 39 had been allowed home, he said.
According to Dr Dzulkefly, the health status of 170 of the 185 Kampung Kuala Koh residents had been checked.
He also said that as of 6.40 p.m. yesterday, the police team which was assisted by the Health Ministry’s forensic medical team had transported the bodies of 12 victims from Kuala Koh to the Gua Musang Hospital to ascertain the cause of death.
Separately, Dr Dzulkefly said 260 personnel of various categories from the Health Ministry, including specialist doctors, will be sent as haj medical personnel this year.
“They are expected to leave for the Holy Land on June 27,” he said. – Bernama