A US-led medical team is traveling today to the Anlong Veng area to investigate claims of increased malaria and typhoid fever among RCAF soldiers there.
Several hundred military engineers building Road 67 between Siem Reap and Anlong Veng are facing disease as the wet season approaches, officials there say.
Four soldiers have reportedly died in the past two months from malaria, said Chea Morn, Military Region 4 commander.
Work in the heavy jungles outside of Anlong Veng have left the remaining members of the work unit more susceptible to illness.
More than a quarter of the unit’s 421 soldiers were sick with malaria, but almost all have recovered, Chea Morn said.
General Kwan Siem, director of the military’s engineering department, said incidents of sickness could be higher, noting that almost all of the soldiers have been sick at some point.
While Western medical experts acknowledged a high number of malaria cases in that area, one US official said no typhoid reports have been verified.
The team, which is under the direction of doctors from the US Naval Medical Research Unit based in Jakarta, includes nine Cambodian doctors and is meant to provide training for Cambodian medical personnel.
It will be in the area for at least a week as it assesses the extent of the problem, a US Embassy official said.
The team also will deliver supplies to the isolated unit, including mosquito nets. Mam Bun Heng, secretary of state for the Health Ministry, said Tuesday that the government has also provided medicine to the unit and has asked that provincial hospital staff assist the soldiers.
Road 67, which is nearing completion just 2 km outside Anlong Veng, will link Siem Reap with the previously isolated northern part of the country, which was until recently under Khmer Rouge control.