Image: Child receives vaccination
Dadang Tri  /  Reuters
A baby receives a vaccination against measles in a refugee camp in the tsunami-hit city of Banda Aceh, on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, on Wednesday.
updated 2/3/2005 9:52:19 AM ET 2005-02-03T14:52:19

Precautions at the outset of the tsunami disaster in Indonesia prevented major outbreaks of infectious diseases, a health official said Thursday.

The top World Health Organization health crisis official said efforts to combat disease outbreaks in Sumatra had exceeded his expectations, after the U.N. body had warned of possible mosquito-and waterborne epidemics in the region, which is in the grip of the rainy season.

Although some cases had been reported, "we have managed to prevent any major disease outbreak from affecting the tsunami-affected populations," David Nabarro told reporters.

"When this started -- the relief effort -- I did not believe that we would succeed in avoiding outbreaks," he said. But he warned that, "We must remain vigilant."

The death toll from the disaster continued to rise. Indonesian workers cleaning up debris of the Dec. 26 tsunami found 897 more bodies, raising the confirmed death toll in that country to 111,171, the government said Thursday.

The number of missing remains 127,749, said the government's National Disaster Relief Coordinating Board. Most of the missing are feared dead but can't be legally declared such for one year.

The overall death toll ranges from 158,868 to 178,115. The number of missing ranges from 26,404 to 142,107 -- with most presumed dead.

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