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Johor investigating link between bird droppings and recent health issues at some Pasir Gudang schools

Johor investigating link between bird droppings and recent health issues at some Pasir Gudang schools

File photo of a flock of pigeons. (Photo: AFP/Pornchai Kittiwongsakul)

JOHOR BAHRU: The Johor government said on Tuesday (Jul 23) that it is investigating the possibility that bird droppings could have contributed to the recent health issues of some students in a Pasir Gudang school.

State Health and Culture Committee chairman Mohd Khuzzan Abu Bakar said some schools have faced issues with bird droppings "for a long time".

"This may also be among the factors (causing the students to experience shortness of breath and vomiting)," he told reporters after visiting Sekolah Kebangsaan Tanjung Puteri Resort on Tuesday.

"We request the Ministry of Education to immediately address this," he added.

Education, Human Resources, Science and Technology Committee chairman Aminolhuda Hassan, who also visited the school, said the bird droppings were not only found on the ground floor, but also on the balcony on the fourth storey of the school.

"This has been happening for a long time now. Otherwise, how can there be such a large amount of droppings?

"I was also informed that the ministry had come to visit (the school) and it is hoped that action will be taken to prevent the birds from entering the roofs of the classrooms and that cleaning works can be implemented immediately, because its adverse effects on breathing can be seen, which is not suitable for children, especially those under 12," he said.

He also urged the school's administration to temporarily use other classes to avoid causing the students further discomfort.

Johor Health Department director Dr Selahuddeen Abd Aziz said that bird droppings can cause severe breathing difficulties in some students.

"In health terminology, we call it hypersensitivity pneumonitis or Pigeon Breeder's Lung, which may lead to symptoms such as shortness of breath. But it depends on how long they have been exposed to the droppings," he said.

Since Jun 20, more than 1,000 schoolchildren in Pasir Gudang have experienced breathing problems and nausea. Malaysian authorities are still trying to determine the source of the pollution. 

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