Measles kills more than 30 in Myanmar

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YANGON: Myanmar health officials have confirmed that a measles outbreak is behind the deaths of more than 30 people, mostly children, in a remote part of the country as authorities rush to treat victims.

The outbreak has struck the far corner of Myanmar’s northern Sagaing region, a remote and mountainous area that borders eastern India and is populated by people from the Naga tribes.

The deaths began in June and highlight how vulnerable Myanmar’s more isolated populations are in a country where healthcare was never prioritized under decades of brutal and inept junta rule.

It is one of the many crippling legacies that the newly installed civilian government of Aung San Suu Kyi is trying to tackle.


Than Tun Aung, deputy director general of the disease control department at Myanmar’s health ministry, said labwork from the worst hit town of Lahal had come back positive for measles.

“It’s measles,” he told AFP late Friday. “So we are sending more team members and cooperating with medical doctors from the military as well.”

Local Naga representatives had previously accused the central government of being slow to act.

The region is impoverished and very remote, a mountainous border area where roads and electricity are scant.

“It took our first medical team about six days to reach the villages. Communication there is also difficult,” Than Tun Aung said.

AFP

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