The Malaysia Ministry of Health has reported (computer translated) an additional 11 cases of acute gastroenteritis (AGE) on Saturday, linked to swimming pools at Bukit Merah Lake Town Resort in Perak state, bringing the total to 46 AGE cases since Sep. 24.

Image/ Malaysia Health Ministry
Image/ Malaysia Health Ministry

Of the 46 cases, 19 have been confirmed positive for rotavirus.

To date, 17 AGE cases have been reported in Kedah state (13 rotavirus), 10 AGE cases in Penang state (6 rotavirus) and 19 AGE cases in Perak state (testing still pending).

No deaths have been reported.

According to a release from Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, the Bukit Merah Lake Town Resort has been told to carry out the following control measures:

Flushing and cleansing all the pools and replacing the water; the use of a chlorinator instead of manual chlorination; contact period of chlorine with water must comply with the standards prescribed to prevent infection; the use of portable digital equipment and parameters such as residual chlorine, pH, turbidity, redox potential (chemical reaction) and nitrate levels measured during monitoring.

People are advised not to bring children who have symptoms of AGE to the pool. Parents are also advised to ensure that small children do not wear diapers when bathing in the outdoor shower. Diapers can be disposed into the bins provided.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), rotavirus disease is most common in infants and young children, but adults and older children can also become infected with rotavirus. It is responsible for the death of over 600,000 children annually worldwide. Once a person has been exposed to rotavirus, it takes about 2 days for symptoms to appear.

Rotavirus is shed (passed from a person’s body into the environment) in feces (stool) of infected persons. The virus spreads by the fecal-oral route; this means that the virus must be shed by an infected person and then enter a susceptible person’s mouth to cause infection.

Rotavirus vaccination is the best way to protect children against rotavirus disease. The vaccines are very effective at preventing severe rotavirus disease in infants and young children.