Sungai Cina in Matang, Sungai Pulau Ayer at the foot of Gunung Gading in Lundu, and all nearby streams may have been infected by the Leptospira bacteria.
Hence, the public are advised to shun water activities in these areas for the time being as the bacteria causes Leptospirosis or ‘penyakit kencing tikus’.
This SMS alert was issued by the Sarawak Forest Department as a precaution after a Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) Resource Science and Technology lecturer made this possible connection when a friend’s child came down with symptoms after visiting Sungai Cina.
Sarawak Forest Department’s senior assistant director, Research, Development and Innovation Division Runi Sylvester said she had asked Unimas to round up their experts and collect samples to test after they reported their suspicion on Sunday.
“As a precaution, we advise visitors to take care or avoid these areas altogether,” she said.
Runi is also a chairperson and expedition head to Dered Krian National Park in Bau. The outing kicked off yesterday at Unimas Staff Training Centre here.
Meanwhile, Unimas Resource Science and Technology Plant Science and Environmental Ecology Department’s senior lecturer Dr Mohd Effendi Wasli said they would assist as much as possible.
“We have researchers with the relevant expertise to carry our further investigation. As of now, we have no confirmation.”
Effendi, who is also a chairman and expedition head of the scientific expedition to Dered Krian National Park, added that they wanted to settle this matter quickly. The department would issue an official statement soon, said acting deputy forestry director I Jack Liam.
“For now, the director suggested that we collaborate with Unimas to probe this,” he said, adding that the parks would only be closed should the presence of the Leptospira bacteria be confirmed.
Meanwhile, State Health director Dr Jamilah Hashim said her office does not carry out environmental sampling and testing for water at recreational areas.
Jack earlier officiated at the 21-day Scientific Expedition to Dered Krian National Park in Bau.
The expedition involved 55 staff members from Sarawak Forest Department and 88 participants from Unimas.
Georgette Tan, firstname.lastname@example.org