Sixteen rat and cockroach-infested eateries in the Klang Valley were ordered to be closed for two weeks in March. They had rat droppings and cockroaches in their kitchens.
The problem seems to be worsening now with people spotting rats in shopping malls where these premises are supposedly more sterile than wet markets.
The Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) said there was an estimated 4.4 million rats in Kuala Lumpur. That was in 2010. Imagine the current figures as the rodents breed at an amazing rate.
The most recent case was at bakery franchise Komugi Bakery Malaysia where a customer spotted a rat on a tray of freshly baked bread in its Mid Valley outlet.
Komugi Bakery Malaysia said the presence of rodents were a “known issue” at the mall.
Whether Komugi Bakery or Mid Valley should be blamed for the presence of the rodents, an apology from either the mall of the bakery is not sufficient as until the rodent problem is solved.
What about the rodent problems at other restaurants? Has it come to a point where diners are accepting these pests as common sights?
The alarming rate of growth in rat population in Malaysia could be attributed to poor sanitation practices and waste management, the rapid rate of urbanisation and improper planning of population centres.
Rats living in close proximity of humans pose serious harm to human health, welfare and economy as they carry pathogenic agents and also cause many allergic disorders.
Among the main diseases attributed to rats are the bubonic plague, leptospirosis, murine typhus, salmonellosis and rat-bite fever.
Most patients with leptospirosis have been found to come in contact with rat urine before the onset of illness.
If leptospirosis is not treated, the patient could develop kidney damage, meningitis (inflammation of the membrane around the brain and spinal cord), liver failure, and respiratory distress.
Rats, which frequent rubbish dumps and sewage tanks, also contact Salmonella bacteria.
Food, food containers and food preparation area that are contaminated with rat droppings would be the source of salmonellosis.
Salmonellosis is characterised by diarrhoea, abdominal cramps, vomiting and nausea, and generally lasts up to seven days.
Unfortunately, in the elderly, children or people with depressed immune systems, Salmonella infections are often fatal if they are not treated with antibiotics.
On the other hand, reports found that that cockroaches may be a reservoir for a range of bacteria including salmonella, staphylococcus and streptococcus.
It is also believed that the cockroach can harbour viruses such as the polio virus.
Ingested bacteria can survive in the cockroach’s digestive system, sometimes for months or even years, and are passed in its droppings.
Cockroaches will vomit and defecate on food and it is thought that disease may be transmitted to humans when humans eat food contaminated by cockroaches.
Surely, this is sound serious enough for Malaysians to start taking these pests problems seriously? What is happening to the hygiene standards in Malaysia?
Source : Soo Wern Jun@The Heat Malaysia Online