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11 more illegals infected with leptospirosis

PENANG, 16 May 2009: Eleven more illegal immigrants from the Juru detention centre have been admitted to Bukit Mertajam Hospital (HBM) with leptospirosis last night.

State Exco for Health and Welfare, Caring Society and Environment Phee Boon Poh said they were sent to hospital after coming down with fever.

“Since May 7, 35 illegal immigrants have been admitted to HBM. Two others were treated for fever at Seberang Jaya Hospital.

“However, half of them are expected to be discharged soon as they have responded positively to treatment,” he told reporters here today.

Newspapers today reported that a Myanmar illegal immigrant died and 26 others were being treated for leptospirosis infection at two hospitals.

Leptospirosis is a rare and severe contagious bacterial infection that affects humans and a wide range of animals.

The infection is commonly transmitted to humans by allowing water contaminated by animal urine like rats or squirrels to come into contact with unhealed breaks in the skin, eyes or the mucous membrane.

Phee said the Penang Health Department has cleaned up Juru detention centre and destroyed animals responsible for the outbreak of leptospirosis.

He said residents in the vicinity should not panic as the disease was under control as measures have been taken to clean up the surrounding areas.

Leptospirosis is also known as canicola fever, Fort Bragg fever or Weil’s disease or syndrome. — Bernama

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