KAPIT: Minister of Land Development Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing has called for foreign medical experts to study the problem of melioidosis and leptospirosis here.
He said the state Health Department should notify the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States and request disease experts to visit Kapit.
“We are concerned about this disease as it has caused a lot of fear among the people not only here but from outside as well. We should inform the CDC and invite the experts to come over to investigate,” said Masing.
The Belaga assemblyman pointed out that even senior personnel avoided visiting the division for fear of contracting the disease.
“This is proof of the feeling of panic among the people, not only the locals but also from outside as well and that is why we need to get the experts from outside to assist us. We must be transparent with this,” he stressed during a recent visit to Kapit Hospital to see a patient suffering from melioidosis and another suspected to have contracted leptospirosis.
Andress Bawing, 49, who works for the Waterworks Section of the Kapit Public Works Department has been hospitalised for over three months for melioidosis.
Meanwhile, Belaja Embam, 49, from Nanga Antawau, Baleh, has been in the hospital for a week for suspected leptospirosis.
Masing said melioidosis has long existed but the diagnosis was not available in the past.
“It first happened in Belaga and then now it happened at my area in Baleh. The diseases have become quite serious, we’re concerned when it affects people’s health.”
He was happy to note that both patients were responding well to treatment.
Kapit has the most number of melioidosis cases in the state followed by Belaga.
Melioidosis is a disease caused by the bacteria Burkholderia pseudomallei, which can be found in contaminated or polluted soil and water.
The disease infects humans or animals through contact with the contaminated source, drinking contaminated water or through open wounds.
From Jan 1 to Aug 3, a total of 35 cases were reported in Sarawak with five deaths.
Last year there were 343 cases involving 17 deaths.
Every year, the disease claims thousands of lives in Thailand.
Meanwhile, leptospirosis cases are sporadic and not clusters or outbreaks.
From Jan 1 to Aug 3, a total of 56 cases were reported with five deaths while last year there were 49 cases.
The disease is caused by the presence of rats, especially at warehouses and unsafe sources of drinking water.
by James Ling, firstname.lastname@example.org. Posted on August 10, 2011, Wednesday