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Sunday August 25, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Sunday August 25, 2013 MYT 10:30:21 AM
by stephanie lee
Public enemy: Abdul Rahman (second from left) kicking off the cleanliness campaign by clearing a rat-infested drain at the Menggatal market.
KOTA KINABALU: The only way to exterminate rats is to get everyone to adopt a “catch-and-kill” attitude, said Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan.
He said it was important for everyone to take proactive steps in getting rid of rats since they transmit many diseases, including leptospirosis.
“We cannot force people to get rid of rats, but for those who want to be part of this effort, they should know the most effective methods for killing rats and to do it without feeling sorry for them,” he said after launching the nationwide rat infestation control campaign at the Menggatal market area near here yesterday.
Other rat-borne diseases include typhus, bubonic plague, lymphocytic choriomeningitis (swelling of the brain and spinal cord), as well as hantavirus diseases. Rat droppings can also trigger allergic reactions in sensitive individuals.
Abdul Rahman said the most significant rat-borne disease was leptospirosis, which had increased from 2,268 cases with 55 deaths in 2011, to 3,665 cases with 48 deaths last year.
As of June 1 this year, the highest number of cases came from Selangor (449), followed by Kuala Lumpur (211), Perak (180) and Sarawak (162).
The rising number of cases was an indication of the worsening rat infestation problem in the country, he said.
“The ministry is taking a holistic approach with the participation of all groups ranging from local governments to NGOs to tackle the rat problem nationwide,” he said.
The nationwide campaign includes mass clean-up done via gotong-royong-style (communal participation), destroying rat burrows, followed by health exhibitions to create awareness of the problem.
Abdul Rahman, who was accompanied by Kota Kinabalu Mayor Datuk Abidin Madingkir at the event, also called on more agencies and departments to get involved in the campaign.
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