PETALING JAYA: Flood victims in Penang, Kedah and Perak have been reminded to practise good hygiene to avoid contracting diseases.
Health Ministry director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said floodwaters are contaminated and dirty, and could cause various infectious diseases such as diarrhoea, typhoid, hepatitis A and leptospirosis.
“Direct contact with contaminated floodwaters can cause infections of wounds, skin, eyes, ear, nose and throat,” he said in a statement.
Dr Noor Hisham cautioned that infections could worsen if early treatment is not given, especially for high-risk groups such as children, senior citizens and chronically-ill patients.
Sungai Buloh Hospital Infectious Disease head Datuk Dr Christopher Lee advised people to wear protective gear to ensure that cuts, wounds and ulcers do not come into direct contact with floodwaters.
“If wounds do come into contact with floodwaters, wash them with clean water as soon as possible,” he said.
Dr Lee added that flood victims need to seek immediate medical attention if they contract diarrhoea and fever.
“The fever could be caused by leptospirosis or other infections.
“For diarrhoea, flood victims need to be aware if there is a disease cluster – a few family members experiencing diarrhoea at the same time,” Dr Lee said.
He cautioned that while larvae would have been washed away by the floodwaters, there would be risks of dengue and other mosquito-borne diseases if standing waters accumulate over the next few days.
Meanwhile, Dr Noor Hisham said that five health facilities in Penang were affected by the floods, namely Penang Hospital, Klinik Kesihatan Mak Mandin, Klinik Desa Lahar Yooi, Klinik Kesihatan Perai and Klinik 1Malaysia Taman Seri Delima.
However, he said that Penang Hospital and Klinik Kesihatan Perai were still accessible to the public.