JOHOR BAHRU: The Gunung Belumut Recreational Forest Area in Kluang, about 137km from Johor Bahru, was closed indefinitely from Tuesday (Mar 20) after two siblings who visited the area on Feb 16 were infected with leptospirosis.
The boy and girl, aged five and seven respectively, had gone to the forest area with their family and relatives.
Johor Health, Environment, Education and Information Committee chairman Ayub Rahmat said the closure was to enable investigations to be carried out by the parties concerned, including to test the water at the recreational centre.
He said the community would work together to clean up the area besides installing rat traps to detect leptospirosis.
According to Ayub, the state health department has also installed health warning signs at the entrance of the area to explain health risks to visitors.
"Given the recreational area has no clean water supply, the risk of getting gastroenteritis infection is high, especially for those high-risk groups picnicking there," he said.
The bacteria that causes leptospirosis is spread through contact with an infected animal's urine, including that of rats. Drinking contaminated water can also cause infection.
Symptoms include fever, diarrhoea, vomiting, muscle aches and rash.
Without treatment, leptospirosis can lead to kidney damage, meningitis, liver failure, respiratory distress, and even death, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.