WORKERS at Klang Municipal Council (MPK) have been busy setting up traps in and around its headquarters to deal with rat infestation.
MPK Health Department director Azmi Muji believes that construction work nearby at Jalan Perbandaran, Klang, Selangor, had led to an increase in rat numbers at the six-storey Bangunan Sultan Alam Shah.
“The noise and vibration from the construction of a rail project and hill cutting in the surrounding areas may have disrupted their habitat and sent the rats scurrying into neighbouring buildings,” he said.
Azmi added that 83 rats were caught last year at the council’s headquarters and surrounding buildings while from January to April 25, 36 had been found.
“Rats have various ways to enter a building – through drain pipes, loading areas and even the front door if left ajar,” Azmi said.
Council employees reported that the rats are in the ceilings of various departments and come out when the lights are turned off.
Droppings can be seen at several floors and traps have been placed at a few departments.
Concerned about the health and safety of workers, Azmi has ordered employees who bring their lunch to work to dispose of their food scraps and its packaging in bins outside the building.
State public health committee chairman Dr Siti Mariah Mahmud said the MPK Health Department must tackle the rat infestation in its building as rodents could transmit diseases.
“Selangor Health Department statistics from January to April 24 this year show that Klang has 51 confirmed leptospirosis cases, the highest among the nine districts after Hulu Langat (24), Petaling (22), Gombak (7), Hulu Selangor (6), Kuala Langat (6), Sabak Bernam (5) Kuala Selangor (4) and Sepang (3),” she revealed.
Dr Siti Mariah said leptospirosis was a bacterial infection that spread through urine from rodents.
“People who contract leptospirosis may suffer from fever, body ache, vomiting, redness of eyes, cough and chest pain.
“They should seek immediate medical attention,” she added.
Dr Siti Mariah said last year, Selangor saw 226 cases of leptospirosis with 10 deaths while from January to April 24 this year, there were 128 confirmed cases with one death reported.
She urged all local councils in Selangor to conduct routine inspections at supermarkets, hypermarkets and restaurants to check for rat infestation.
“All local councils must minimise pest infestation by keeping public drains clean and ensuring establishments do not dispose of food scraps into drains,” added Dr Siti Mariah.
Azmi said the council’s Health Department would conduct pest control operations in the commercial areas of Jalan Tengku Kelana, Bandar Baru Klang, Bandar Bukit Raja, Meru, Bandar Bukit Tinggi and Bandar Botanic after the Hari Raya Aidilfitri holidays.