KOTA BARU: For years the dirty environment around the food court, restaurants and hypermarket in a commercial area in Kubang Kerian about 30m away from Universiti Sains Malaysia Hospital has been a breeding ground for rats.
The rat population kept increasing over the years and “invaded” the hospital via a series of underground burrows and sewage pipes leading from the university complex to the large monsoon drain by the road there.
Kota Baru Municipal Council president Fauzi Mat said that several steps would be taken to solve the problem, including exterminating the rats at source.
Fauzi also said that the council would educate the food outlets on the proper way to dispose of their kitchen waste.
“The collection of rubbish in the area may also be intensified to remove more garbage and food waste,” he added.
The hospital has been invaded by both sewer rats and common house mice, and the 2,800-odd university campus employees, medical students and nurses face the threat of contracting leptospirosis, caused by the urine and droppings of rodents.
However, there has not been any report of such cases in the hospital.
According to the staff, the rodents have infested the main cafeteria and pantries and also made nests in the thousands of square feet of suspended ceiling at the hospital.
There are also reports that the rats have started damaging the electrical wiring system on the ground floor of the hospital complex.
The hospital, which is accredited with the University Accelerated Programme for Excellence certification, was opened in 1983 on 72.84ha of land in the Kubang Kerian township.
It comprises a health campus, a teaching hospital, a cardiothoracic department and a dentistry school.