Fish spa treatment may spread water-borne germs, says Malaysian minister

Fish spa treatment may spread water-borne germs, says Malaysian minister

SUBANG JAYA - People using fish spa treatment have been warned of possible health risks due to the nature of the treatment and the use of untreated water.

"Our concern is the spread of water-borne germs as not only one person uses the fish pond," said Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai.

Citing an example, he said a person with an infected leg may spread it to the other users of the pond.

"Also a concern is that the water in the pond is not treated with chlorine or changed regularly," he added.

However, Liow said the ministry was merely issuing a health advisory and not a ruling.

Liow was speaking to reporters after closing the National Combi (Communication for Behavioural Impact) Convention here yesterday.

A United Kingdom Health Protect­ion Agency had reported that fish spa treatment could be risky for those with weak immune systems or underlying medical conditions.

Fish spa treatment involves patrons placing their feet in tanks of warm water containing dozens of tiny scavenger fish which are said to clean and exfoliate the skin by taking tiny bites.

Liow said there were no immediate plans to act against fish spa operators.

On another matter, Liow said besides bringing in the floods, the year-end monsoon season could see a higher number of deaths due to dengue haemorrhagic fever.

"Dengue cases have risen sharply and it is a reminder to be vigilant over the next two months," he said.

Liow said efforts by 2,177 Combi teams nationwide had helped reduce the number of dengue cases and related deaths.

"The effort had brought about positive results as a total of 15,524 dengue cases with 26 deaths were recorded as of Oct 21 this year compared to 39,264 cases with 117 deaths during the same period last year."

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