KUALA LUMPUR - Selangor and Kuala Lumpur are halfway towards being declared as typhoid-free areas but many restaurants and food outlets inspected did not meet food hygiene and safety standards.
Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah (pic) said there had been no typhoid fever cases reported in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur since Oct 16 and if no cases were reported over the next three weeks, the areas could be declared typhoid fever-free.
"The situation is under control," he said yesterday during Ops Kepialu (Typhoid) that was being conducted in Kuala Lumpur.
The Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya Health departments and the KL City Hall have been inspecting food outlets since the start of the three-day operation, which began on Wednesday.
The checks were stepped up after the outbreak started in August.
Dr Hisham said between Aug 1 and Oct 16, a total of 60 cases of typhoid had been reported - 42 in Kuala Lumpur and 18 in Selangor - but there were no deaths.
Out of the 177 outlets checked, 126 were shut down for breaching hygiene standards.
"There were many flies and cockroaches in the restaurants, kitchen areas were unwashed and grease stuck in various places," he said, adding that the outlets would be closed for two weeks for the owners to clean up.
Since August to Wednesday, a total of 1,054 food outlets throughout the country were checked. Of the number, 267 premises were shut down for operating under unsanitary conditions.
Compounds were issued to 247 outlets under the Food Hygiene Regulations 2009 and KL City Hall's by-laws.
"A total of 4,326 food handlers were checked and out of these, 2,349 were Malaysians while 1,977 were foreigners.
"As many as 749 of the food handlers were vaccinated for typhoid," he said.
Dr Hisham said compounds would be issued to owners if their employees failed to adhere to the requirements set by the Health Ministry and handled food in an unsafe and unclean manner.
KL City Hall socio-economic development executive director Datuk Normah Malik said the fines imposed ranged between RM2,000 and RM50,000 depending on the offences.
She advised the public to choose stalls or restaurants that were clean and eat freshly cooked food.
"Self-hygiene should also be a priority, especially washing hands before eating and after going to the toilet," Normah said.
"Get immediate medical attention if any symptoms of typhoid fever shows up to avoid complications."