AUTHORITIES ACT: Lata Bayu park closed to public to curb spread of disease
SUNGAI PETANI: DOCTORS have confirmed that five of the seven siblings who fallen ill after a picnic at Lata Bayu recreational park in Baling near here are suffering from leptospirosis.
The seven had gone to the popular park on May 4. One of them, Abu Hanifah Redzuan, 33, died of the disease after he and his five brothers and a sister were rushed to the hospital here and in Kepala Batas, Penang, on Saturday.
Abu Hanifah, with four brothers and the sister were admitted to Sultan Abdul Halim Hospital here, while another sibling was warded at Kepala Batas Hospital in Penang.
Of the remaining four siblings who tested positive for the rat-borne disease, also commonly known as black jaundice, three are at Sultan Abdul Halim Hospital while the other is at Kepala Batas Hospital.
The remaining siblings showed symptoms of leptospirosis, which included continuous fever, massive headache, vomiting, sore muscle and body aches but the results of their blood tests would only be ready next week.
Meanwhile, state health authorities have temporarily closed the park to the public as they believe the ponds in the area are contaminated with rat urine, which contains the bacterium that causes the disease.
Baling District Health Office officer Dr Delima Kalsom Abdul Wahab said the department was carrying out periodic tests on water from the ponds to identify the contsminated ones.
"To avoid more people from contracting the disease, we have decided to close the park indefinitely from today," she said at the park yesterday.
Dr Delima had joined a 50-member team to clean up the park.
The rest comprised officers from the Baling District Council, Forestry Department and solid waste management concessionaire E-Idaman Sdn Bhd.
Besides clearing the park of food leftovers, which had been dumped by visitors and hawkers, the crew also carried out fogging and sprayed pesticides in the area.
Notices of the park's closure were also put up at prominent spots in the area.
The district council and Forestry Department would patrol the park to keep the public out.
It's the park's second closure in three years. It was closed for three months in 2010 after a civil servant died from similar symptoms suffered by the siblings.