Woman expected to be cleared of rat urine disease

ALOR STAR - One of the six siblings admitted to Sultan Abdul Halim Hospital in Sungai Petani for suspected leptospirosis is expected to be discharged in the next few days.

Siti Zubaidah Redzuan, 22, who was warded last Saturday, said had doctors initially suspected that she was suffering from leptospirosis.

"Tests on my blood will not be ready until next week but they said I am free of the disease."

Siti Zubaidah and her seven siblings were admitted to the hospital after they suffered a week-long fever, massive headache, vomiting, sore muscles and body aches.

The siblings fell ill after they took a dip at Lata Bayu recreational park in Baling near here on May 4.

However, Siti Zubaidah's elder brother Abu Hanifah, 23, who was the worst affected, died few hours after he was admitted. Doctors have yet to ascertain the cause of death but he had shown symptoms of leptospirosis, which included bleeding in the nose, eyes and ears and continuous fever.

State Health director Dr Ismail Abu Taat said 82 cases of leptospirosis, including three deaths, had been reported in the state over the past five months.

He said the victims, most of them teenagers and men, were infected with the disease after visiting recreational sites, especially waterfalls.

"Leptospirosis is a rodent-borne disease and it could be transmitted to humans when they come in contact with the urine of infected rodents.

"In the latest case, the pool at the park could have been contaminated with the urine of infected rats," Dr Ismail said.

Asked if the Lata Bayu recreational park would be closed to the public, he said the Health Department was waiting for the test results on blood samples of the victims and water samples from the park.

He advised picnickers against indiscriminately dumping leftover food at recreational sites to keep rodents and other pests away.