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Home >> Life
UPDATED: 11:23, December 01, 2006
Malaria kills 75 in Colombia
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Malaria has killed 75 ethnic people in Colombia's western region of Catru, health authorities said on Thursday.

Up to 71 of those died were children aged under four, the local health department said, adding that epidemiologists had visited the area after the illness was reported.

The department said that seven children had died in one week in October, triggering alarm in the 22 embera communities in the region. The situation was getting steadily worse in October as more and more villagers suffered from fevers and diarrhea.

"They all had symptoms of dehydration, and the bulk of the deaths were caused by malaria," the health authority said. Malaria is a mosquito-born disease which causes high fever, gastric pain and diarrhea.

The most populated region of Catru, which is part of the Alto Baudo municipality, has 24 villages and a total of 5,763 residents.

A spokesman from the National Indigenous People's Organization said all of the deaths had been avoidable.

"This shows how inefficient the health system is for isolated communities," the spokesman said.

Source: Xinhua

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