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Measles kills fifth child in Ratanakkiri

A FIFTH child has succumbed to measles in Ratanakkiri province’s Borkeo district, and another 30 people in the area have been struck by the disease in recent weeks, health officials said yesterday.

Chor Dino, a staffer at the district health centre, said yesterday that the child – whose identity was withheld – had died on October 3, with the other four children dying in July. He said all five fatalities were between the ages of 8 months and 3 years.

“Another 30 people are sick, and three were seriously ill, but they were sent to the health centre for help,” he said. “Some people have left [the affected villages] because they are afraid, but we asked them to come back in order for us to help them.”

Symptoms of measles include a full body rash and severe respiratory problems.

R’Cham Phung, chief of Borkeo district’s Bor Loy commune, said no more deaths had been reported since October 3, and that health officials and local authorities were sending villagers with symptoms of the disease immediately to the local health centre.

“But there are some villagers who are staying in the forest because they are afraid,” he added.

Tha Bunthak, deputy director of the provincial health department, said yesterday that measles “always happens during the wet season”, but that many villagers were unaware that the disease was curable. “We always go down to communities to educate people who live in rural areas, and urge them to go to health centres or hospitals if they are sick,” he said.

Meanwhile, health officials in Mondulkiri province’s Koh Nhek district said yesterday that one man had died and more than 60 had fallen ill with acute watery diarrhoea since mid-September.

Kert Syna, director of the provincial health department, said the affected villagers in Nang Khylek commune lived in extremely remote areas, forcing them to drink dirty water and eat poorly prepared food.

“We urged them to drink boiled water and practice good hygiene in order to avoid diarrhoea,” he said.



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