Malaysian teen dies from rat disease

MALAYSIA - A 15-year-old boy died in Kuantan last Tuesday, in a case of suspected rat-borne leptospirosis, after helping flood victims at his housing area.

Nik Ammar Shahril Nik Mustafa (right) was rushed to Tengku Ampuan Afzan Hospital around 8pm on Dec 16 after complaining of headache, vomiting and muscle pain.

He died at 10.30am the following day, reported Malaysian newspaper the New Straits Times.

He was the third of seven siblings.

His mother, food-stall operator Samsiah Harun, 37, said Nik Ammar had helped some family friends who were affected by the recent floods.

He had helped to move their belongings when the flood hit the nearby areas on Dec 3.

"The following day, he complained of cramps in his leg and found it difficult to walk," she said.

His grandmother applied some ointment on his legs and his condition improved.

But the relief was temporary.

"Several days later, he complained of headache and nausea, his body became weak, and his condition worsened on Dec 16," Ms Samsiah said on Sunday.

"I began to panic when his skin started to turn yellow and we called for an ambulance to take him to (hospital)."

He had initially been better after receiving treatment, but he did not pull through.

Ms Samsiah said the doctor treating him had told the family that the disease was caused by exposure to water contaminated by rat urine.

"The family has accepted Nik Ammar's death as God's will but it is sad that he could not collect his Penilaian Menengah Rendah (Lower Secondary Assessment) examination result last Wednesday," she said.

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