Leptospirosis cases in Malaysia

There is a total of 2,775 rat urine infection or known as “leptospirosis” cases have been detected so far this year, with 23 deaths as of Aug 10, 2013. Leptospirosis

According to Dr Chong Chee Kheong, Director of Malaysia Health Ministry Disease Control Division, more than 90 per cent of the cases were sporadic and occurred throughout the country. He also mentioned "Leptospirosis situation in Malaysia shows that rats are the main reservoir for the disease but other animals, such as dogs and bats, can be infected by the Leptospira bacteria."

In 2011 and 2012, there are 2,268 reported leptospirosis cases with 55 deaths and 3,665 cases with 48 deaths respectively. Dr Chong cautioned the public against patronising unclean food outlets, avoid water activity especially during the raining season and practise proper waste disposal at home to avoid attracting rats as well as maintain personal hygiene at all times.

In December 2010, Leptospirosis was gazetted as a notifiable disease under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988. The ministry has conducted a management and surveillance course in May to update the ministry staff on leptospirosis cases. The guidelines were outlined in the Diagnosis, Management, Prevention and Control of Leptospirosis in Malaysia (Year 2011) circular to manage leptospirosis cases.

Dr Chong said other measures to prevent the spread of Leptospirosis includes the immediate closure of dirty food premises and distribution of health education materials through the media. 

Leptospirosis Symptoms:

  • High fever 
  • Chills 
  • Vomiting 
  • Cough 
  • Headache 
  • Jaundice 
  • Diarrhoea 
  • Joint pain

These symptoms or signs may show from second to tenth day after rat urine infection.

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