Malaysia warns of waterborne disease after deaths

Aug 23, 2010

(AP) -- Malaysia has closed parks and warned the public about swimming and dumping trash in rivers after up to 10 people died from a disease spread by rats.

The latest reported death from the bacterial disease leptospirosis was Saturday. The 17-year-old boy in northern Kedah state had swam in a river and had a picnic with friends at a recreational park last month, the New Straits Times and The Star reported.

Several parks throughout the country have been closed since the first deaths were reported last month. Some deaths were believed to have been caused by a separate waterborne disease, and a Health Ministry official could not immediately say how many were caused by leptospirosis.

The Health Ministry's website warns people not to swim in public rivers when it rains and to avoid taking a dip if they have cuts on their body, which makes an infection more likely.

Health Minister Liow Tiong Lai was quoted by the Times on Monday as saying his ministry would distribute leaflets and posters to raise awareness of the disease.

Leptospirosis is caused by exposure to water contaminated with urine of infected animals and absorbed through the skin. are the main carriers, and the ministry's campaign urges people not to dump rubbish near water sources that could attract rats, he said.

Cases of the have been increasing in Malaysia. It killed 62 people last year, up from 20 in 2004. In the same period, the number of infections rose more than fivefold to more than 1,400 cases, up from 263.

Symptoms are severe , , and headache, and leptospirosis is curable if the person is treated within a week.

Explore further: More effective kidney stone treatment, from the macroscopic to the nanoscale

4.3 /5 (3 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New species of infectious disease found in Amazon

Apr 02, 2008

While investigating the tropical disease leptospirosis in the Peruvian Amazon, an infectious disease specialist from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine has uncovered new, emerging bacteria that may ...

Bacterial slime helps cause serious disease

May 05, 2008

Leptospirosis is a serious but neglected emerging disease that infects humans through contaminated water. Now research published in the May issue of the journal Microbiology shows for the first time how bacteria that cause ...

Urban slum conditions are a source of leptospirosis

Apr 23, 2008

A study conducted in an urban slum setting in Salvador, Brazil has found that open sewers, accumulations of refuse, and inadequate floodwater drainage are acting as sources for transmission of the disease leptospirosis. ...

China alerts about dengue fever

Oct 11, 2006

China has issued an alert against dengue fever as the peak season for the mosquito-borne disease continues in the southern parts of the country.

Virus death toll rises in Kenya

Jan 26, 2007

Officials in Kenya are trying to stop the spread of Rift Valley Fever, which has killed at least 148 people.

Recommended for you

Ebola virus in Africa outbreak is a new strain

19 hours ago

The Ebola virus that has killed scores of people in Guinea this year is a new strain—evidence that the disease did not spread there from outbreaks in some other African nations, scientists report.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Unraveling the 'black ribbon' around lung cancer

It's not uncommon these days to find a colored ribbon representing a disease. A pink ribbon is well known to signify breast cancer. But what color ribbon does one think of with lung cancer?

Classifying cognitive styles across disciplines

Educators have tried to boost learning by focusing on differences in learning styles. Management consultants tout the impact that different decision-making styles have on productivity. Various fields have ...

Tiny power plants hold promise for nuclear energy

Small underground nuclear power plants that could be cheaper to build than their behemoth counterparts may herald the future for an energy industry under intense scrutiny since the Fukushima disaster, the ...

Hand out money with my mobile? I think I'm ready

A service is soon to launch in the UK that will enable us to transfer money to other people using just their name and mobile number. Paym is being hailed as a revolution in banking because you can pay peopl ...