Campsite in Malaysia being cleaned after leptospirosis outbreak

Campsite in Malaysia being cleaned after leptospirosis outbreak
Public notice: A district health office warning posted at Templer Park near Gombak. The public is advised to keep such recreational areas clean.

BAHAU - The Ulu Serting recreational park will be closed until June 14 as health officials conduct a massive clean-up and determine the severity of a leptospirosis outbreak.

Checks at the park yesterday showed several health officials conducting an inspection and collecting samples for tests.

The main gate was closed with a notice reminding the public of the potential health hazards at the park.

The notice also advised the public against drinking water from the river, pond and waterfall located within the recreational park without boiling it as the source could be contaminated.

People were also advised against swimming in the park if they had wounds or any form of skin disease, and directed them to seek medical treatment if they fell sick after visiting the park.

The park was temporarily closed following the death of a 17-year-old student believed to have contracted leptospirosis, or rat urine disease, at the Berhulu Camp, located in the park.

The male student from SM Teknik Tuanku Ja'afar in Seremban died of multiple organ failure on May 29 after he was believed to have contracted the disease.

Camp assistant manager Mohd Hanif Abd Manap said the management decided to temporarily close the camp to allow health officials to carry out their work unhindered.

"We will extend whatever assistance is needed," he said, adding that the management had always maintained good hygiene since the camp opened in 2011.

The victim was among 50 male and female students who had camped there from May 8 to May 10, but on May 21, he developed fever and began experiencing joint pains, muscle aches, cough and nausea.

He sought treatment at a clinic four days later before being referred to the Tuanku Ja'afar Hospital but he never recovered.

Fourteen of his schoolmates received outpatient treatment after showing similar symptoms after the camp stay.

Mohd Hanif said two other groups had attended activities at the camp at the time but none had fallen sick.

Health Ministry deputy director-general Datuk Dr Lokman Hakim Sulaiman said in a statement on Tuesday that checks at the campsite revealed that it lacked proper hygiene.

He said water and soil samples had been taken to establish the cause of the teenager's death.

Dr Lokman also advised the public to keep the surroundings clean and free of rodents, avoid dirty areas, avoid drinking river water and swimming in stagnant water, and avoid eating at dirty food stalls.

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