An undiagnosed disease has killed more than 30 children in a remote part of Myanmar, officials said Thursday, with health authorities struggling to treat victims.
The illness, with measles-like symptoms, has hit the far corner of Myanmar’s northern Sagaing region, a remote and mountainous area which borders eastern India and is populated by people from the Naga tribes.
Adults and children have both been struck since the outbreak first emerged in June, a local MP said, but the illness appears to be particularly deadly to children under the age of five.
“Rashes came out on their bodies, they have a fever and difficulty breathing because of coughing. Blood also comes out while coughing,” he said.
Some 200 people so far have come down with the disease, he said, adding that central authorities have been slow to react.
A health ministry official in the capital Naypyidaw confirmed the outbreak, including more than 30 deaths, and said tests were being carried out.
“We assume at an initial stage it’s a measles outbreak or strong influenza. But we can definitely say only when we get the result from laboratory,” the official said, requesting anonymity.
The outbreak highlights how vulnerable Myanmar’s more remote populations are in a country where healthcare was never prioritised under decades of brutal and inept junta rule.
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