Orang Asli toddler latest victim to succumb to mysterious illness, death toll now at 15

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PETALING JAYA - A three-year-old Bateq child from Kampung Kuala Koh died on Sunday (June 16), bringing the death toll of the Orang Asli tribe who have been plagued by a mysterious illness to 15.

Nasri A/L Rosli died at Hospital Raja Perempuan Zainab II in Kota Baru, Kelantan, said National Unity and Social Well-being Minister P. Waytha Moorthy.

"The Forensic Unit of the hospital will conduct a post-mortem today to confirm the cause of the death," he said in a statement on Monday (June 17).

He said that the Orang Asli Development Department (Jakoa) would provide help and assistance to Nazri's family.

Waytha Moorthy also conveyed his condolences to the family.

On Friday (June 14), Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said the Health Ministry was working towards determining the illness which has killed 14 Bateq people since last month.

Tests done by the Department of Environment on water samples taken near a manganese mine about 3km from the Bateq settlement in Kuala Koh and water catchments in the area were free of contaminants and complied with national drinking water standards, she added.

According to reports, the cause or causes of the deaths of the tribe have yet to be ascertained but pneumonia is suspected as victims were reportedly suffering from breathing difficulties before they died.

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