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Once bitten, twice shy, says disease survivor


  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 12 Jul 2017

KLANG: Lau Som Yee has been staying clear of waterfalls, ponds and rivers after she and her dog Kiki came down with leptospirosis in August 2012.

Both she and the beagle caught the deadly infection after a visit to the Sungai Pisang waterfall in Gombak with some friends.

“I went there with Kiki and my other dog JoJo. We were with two of my friends and their dogs.

“The water appeared to be clean and fresh, and no one would have imagined contracting any disease there,” said Lau, 37, an information technology security engineer.

Much to Lau’s shock, Kiki “literally turned yellow” a week after the trip.

Upon taking Kiki to a veterinarian, Lau found that the dog was dying of leptospirosis.

“A blood test indicated that both her kidneys and liver were failing fast. The veterinarian said she only had days to live,” she said.

Overcome by grief and spending almost five hours after work with Kiki at the veterinary clinic daily, Lau failed to notice the symptoms of leptospirosis in herself.

Miraculously, Kiki recovered after eight days at the clinic. A few days after the dog was discharged, Lau started having a fever and chills.

A blood test confirmed her worst fears – she had also contracted leptospirosis. She then admitted herself to a private hospital.

“The doctors told me I probably managed to stay alive all those weeks because I was on strong antibiotics and had also received a tetanus jab after the waterfall trip,” she said.

She had the shot because JoJo had accidentally bitten her while they were frolicking at the waterfall.

“The bite was quite bad and the doctor had to suture the wound. He also put me on a very strong dose of antibiotics. I owe my life to JoJo,” said Lau.

She said her four-day hospital stay was torture as she was given more antibiotics intravenously.

“The pain was unbearable as the drug made its way into my veins,” she said.

“That’s why I will never, ever go near any waterfalls, rivers or lakes again.”

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