The Ministry of Health, along with other relevant agencies, will try to locate the graves of 12 Orang Asli from the Batek tribe who were said to have died of pneumonia in Kampung Kuala Koh here over the past month.
Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad said the move was vital to enable the bodies to be exhumed for post mortem to ascertain their actual cause of deaths and whether their diseases had indeed infected others in the village.
However, he said the ministry would leave to the police the exhumation of the bodies, which were buried according to the customary Batek tribe funeral rites.
He said the ministry had been facing difficulties locating the graves as they were said to be buried in the jungle.
“When we asked their families, they said they did not know,” the minister told reporters after being briefed on the issue and visited the Orang Asli patients receiving treatment at the Gua Musang Hospital here today.
A total of 50 Orang Asli from the Batek tribe were still receiving treatment at three hospital in the state, 37 or whom at the Gua Musang Hospital, 12 at Kuala Krai Hospital and one at the intensive care unit of the Raja Perempuan Zainab II Hospital in Kota Bharu.
Dr Dzulkefly also reminded the public not to visit the village for the time being for fear of being infected with the disease.
While refuting the allegation that the disease, which saw the patients experiencing severe cough, high fever, flu and breathing difficulty, was caused by leptospirosis, he said there was a possibility of it being caused by other infectious virus just by breathing.
“We have carried out some tests on that and are now awating the results which I will annouce soon,” he added.