KUALA LUMPUR - The Selayang wholesale market and the Chow Kit market are among five public markets in the capital which have been classified as breeding grounds for rats, making the areas susceptible to leptospirosis, a potentially deadly bacterial disease.
Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) senior assistant environmental health officer Mariappan Chinniah said the other three were the Pudu, Sentul and Keramat markets.
"We conduct operations to catch rats in these markets five times a week, and each day, we would set up more than 50 traps," he told Bernama recently.
Mariappan said within a month, they managed to capture around 6,000 rats from the five markets, with an average catch of 50 rats per day. "The figure has not changed much over the last five years," he added. In fact, he said, these markets were also found to be the breeding grounds, with scores of active rat burrows detected.
Mariappan said the rat population was more active in market areas than in houses due to the dirty and unkempt environment.
"The main factors contributing to the abundance of rats in markets are the availability of water, food and shelter such as holes in the drains," he said.
Bernama reporters who accompanied DBKL environmental health department officers during their operation to catch rats at Pudu market last Friday were astonished to see seven brown medium-sized rats caught within five minutes.
The surroundings in Pudu market was extremely filthy with chicken innards strewn on the floor. The drains were clogged with innards and blood. Rats were running around, and based on estimates, there were about 1,000 rats in the location.
More than 30 rats of various sizes were caught during the three-hour operation.