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An Eight-Year-Old Girl Dies Of Suspected Rat Fever

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ALOR SETAR – An eight-year-old girl from Taman Pinang Merah, Bukit Pinang, near here has died of suspected leptospirosis or rat fever.

Amirah Maisarah Zir Omar Khan, the eldest of three siblings, all girls, died in the Sultanah Bahiyah Hospital yesterday after she was admitted to the intensive care unit on Wednesday for high fever and fits.

Her younger sister Nur Syazana, five, now in the hospital, was diagnosed with leptospirosis by a private medical centre while another sister Zaharah Alisa, three, and their mother Siti Zaleha Ramlan, 32, were also suffering from fever.

Kedah Director of Health Datuk Dr Norhizan Ismail said Amirah Maisarah was attended to by paediatricians at the hospital and given appropriate treatment, including administration of antibiotics and antiviral medication.

“Despite the intensive care, she did not respond satisfactorily to treatment and died on Dec 5 at 11.27 pm,” he said in a statement today.

He said laboratory tests and examination conducted at the hospital indicated the possibility of Amirah Maisarah having contracted leptospirosis.

“The hospital is in the process of sending her blood sample for tests at the Institute for Medical Research in Kuala Lumpur for verification of leptospirosis.

“The hospital also conducted tests for dengue and the initial results were negative,” he said.

Dr Norhizan said the hospital learnt that the girl and her family had played in the water at a recreation centre in Yan 12 days before she fell ill.

“Officers from the District Health Office will conduct a thorough examination of the family members to determine their health status so as to ensure that they are given the appropriate treatment,” he said.

Dr Norhizan said that following the incident, the department had been instructed to conduct an investigation through the Yan and Kota Setar district health offices.

Meanwhile, Kedah Environment, Chinese Community Affairs, Health and Unity Committee chairman Datuk Dr Leong Yong Kong told a press conference that Nur Syazana was undergoing treatment at the hospital while Zaharah Alisa and Siti Zaleha had yet to be admitted to hospital.

He said that if the recreation centre was contaminated with rat urine, the state government would take immediate measures to prevent such occurrence.

“The rats would have been drawn to the litter discarded by the many visitors to the area. The people should exercise discipline and not throw rubbish everywhere.

“We cannot shut down the recreation centre suddenly for it will raise concern among the public. I will ask the health and forestry departments to monitor the place,” he said.

Amirah Maisarah was buried at 11 am at the Al-Hidayah Mosque cemetery in Bukit Pinang. – BERNAMA

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