UiTM grad dies from rat urine disease


BIG LOSS: He may have contracted it in food stall, says relative

SHAH ALAM: LEPTOSPIROSIS has claimed another victim, this time,  a 21-year-old Universiti Teknologi Mara  Shah Alam student.

Megat Hafiqh Hakimi Zulffrida, the son of Bernama Radio programming head Hakimi Zulffrida Mohd Zain, succumbed to the disease at 10am yesterday after suffering multiple organ failure.

His grandmother, Hasnah Abu Kasim, 72, said Megat, who was her eldest grandson, was admitted to Putrajaya Hospital last Thursday.

"He went into a coma two days later and we did not know for sure where he contracted the disease.

"He was a nice boy. I will miss him a lot."

She said Megat had just celebrated his birthday on May 18 and had his diploma convocation the following day.

"He had fever at the time, but we thought it was a regular one.

"He even came to our house to take a picture with us after his convocation.

"That was our last picture together."

Megat's grandfather, Mohd Zain Kadir, 73, said he suspected that Megat could have contracted the disease, which is passed through rat urine, in a food stall where he last went for drinks with his friends from university.

"I am disappointed with the level of hygiene in food stalls and eateries here.

"I do not know what our health inspectors are doing.

"In the United States, a restaurant can be closed for a month if a single cockroach is spotted," he said at the Kota Kemuning Muslim cemetery where Megat was buried.

At the cemetery yesterday was Megat's lecturer, Dr Wan Zayana Mohd Yusof.

Wan Zayana, who teaches Transport Design, said Megat, who was pursuing a degree in Industrial Design, was a bright and talented student and that his coursework served as a benchmark for fellow students.

"He came to class on Wednesday last week.

"He already had a fever and was coughing.

"He had a lot of promise and his death is a huge loss."

In Putrajaya, Deputy Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya said the ministry had yet to receive a report from the hospital over Megat's death.

He said the recent cases of leptospirosis should act as a warning for others to avoid places that were known to be where people contracted the viral infection.

He said the ministry was especially concerned about recreational areas where people have contracted the disease.

"The problem is ongoing because people bring food to these areas and litter, which attracts rats."

Dr Hilmi extended his condolences to Megat's family.

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