KUALA KANGSAR: The recent rotavirus outbreak, believed to have originated from the Bukit Merah Laketown Resort near Taiping, would not affect tourism in Perak, said State Health Committee Chairman Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon.
“It shouldn’t affect tourism because it’s a one off thing. When they (Bukit Merah Laketown Resort) clean it up, it will be alright.
“However, they have to make sure that their pools are 100% clean,” he said to reporters after meeting residents at Kampung Baru Jerlun here on Thursday.
On Wednesday, Health Ministry director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said there have been 70 acute gastroenteritis (AGE) cases linked to the resort.
“There are 26 cases in Kedah, 30 cases in Perak and 14 cases in Penang. Out of the cases, 30 cases have tested positive for rotavirus - six in Perak, 16 in Kedah and eight in Penang. All are reported to be in a stable condition and no fatalities have been recorded. At this point, 14 cases are still being treated at government and private hospitals,” he said.
He added that out of the seven sites where samples were taken, only three had sufficient levels of chlorine.
“Only three locations had sufficient chlorine, in amounts exceeding 0.5ppm. Under the Kuala Lumpur City Hall guidelines, public pools should have 0.5ppm to 1.5ppm of chlorine. Rotavirus was not detected in water samples taken on Sept 29 and 30 at seven locations at the resort,” said Dr Noor Hisham.
He added that the Perak Health Department would continue to monitor the situation and ensure that the draining, cleaning, flushing and backwash work carried out at the resort’s pools were done properly.
“The pools will remain closed until the Department is satisfied that the health of the public is not threatened,” he said.
State Health Department director Datuk Dr Juita Ghazalie said she and her team visited the resort on Tuesday and according to her, the water has been released from all five pools in the water park.
“They are now cleaning and doing the maintenance work in all five pools and other areas of the park. At the same, they took the opportunity to do full servicing of the two water filtration plants, which is expected to take two weeks.
“We will allow them to reopen after we get the results of the second water samples. Bukit Merah has given full cooperation throughout our investigation,” said Dr Juita.She reminded the public to be health conscious and ensure personal hygiene, practice good habits by wearing suitable clothing when entering the pool, avoid urinating and defecating in pools.