Health official denies Orang Asli child has died

An Orang Asli child from the Batek tribe falls ill after she is believed to have consumed contaminated water. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: The Kelantan Health Department has denied media reports that an Orang Asli child from Kampung Kuala Koh near Gua Musang had died while being treated at Hospital Raja Perempuan Zainab II in Kota Bahru.

Kelantan director of health Dr Zaini Husin said the three-year-old patient was in the children’s intensive care ward and still undergoing treatment for bronchopneumonia and malnutrition.

Earlier today, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department P Waytha Moorthy had said that 14 Orang Asli villages from Kampung Kuala Koh had died from an illness, believed to be pneumonia.

Post-mortem examination of two victims showed that they had died from pneumonia. The cause of death of the other 12 could not be confirmed as they had been buried.

Zaini said up till yesterday, 83 villagers had shown symptoms, with 37 being given outpatient treatment and the remainder are being warded at different hospitals in the state.

“Based on the clinical symptoms and the way they were infected, it is suspected that they have pneumonia. Prevention and control efforts are being carried out through talks and the distribution of pamphlets on contagious disease and cleanliness.”

Villagers showing symptoms are being isolated while checks to detect new cases are also being carried out.

Outsiders are being advised to stay away to avoid the spread of the disease.