Thursday, February 12, 2009

PERAK WITH MALAYSIAKINI: Swiftlet a real threat

Burung layang-layang.

Birds that lack beauty, bring out a definite magestic flight pattern to the keenest eyes. They shoot up and down effortlessly. I suppose that is a simulation to sea birds habit in picking up little fish at sea. I remembered how swiftlets swarmed the sky as soon as the rain subsided. They went even crazier when winged ants [kalkatu] migrating out from their submerged nest, filled the sky as ready made- natural-fresh food.

2. They pick cool places near roof edge to built their nest. Their nests are crude, earthy look, dull and ugly. Burung tempua, though small, are delicate little birds, artistic in their creation. Sarang burung tempua is a testimony to diligence and artistic nature. Some say, tempua nests are not all for sleeping or rearing the little ones, because some are dummies and some are designed for the little ones to play before they are off to the wide sky.

3. Back to these swiftlets. A person by the name Dr T.K. HO wrote an interesting article about swiftlets. He zeroed in Manjung, Sitiawan and Pantai Remis. These places are important dots in the bigger map of Perak because, Nga, Ngeh, Nizar and Zambry are representing these places in the State Assembly. I am stretching my mind far back into the wilderness of childhood memory to pinpoint who is Dr T.K.HO. I had a glimpse, just a glimpse.

Read further.

Swiftlets rearing
in town,
a health hazard

the star [health threat]

I READ with keen interest the article “Ministry must be firm in dengue fight” (The Star, Feb 1).

As most of us know, dengue fever is an acute illness of sudden onset that usually follows a benign course with headache, fever, exhaustion, severe joint and muscle pains, lymphadenopathy (swollen glands), and rashes.

The presence of fever, rashes and headache (and other pains), i.e. the “dengue triad”, is particularly characteristic of dengue. The more severe form of dengue, dengue haemorrhagic fever, can present as headache, fever, rashes, and evidence of haemorrhage or bleeding in the body.

Petechiae (small red or purple blisters under the skin), bleeding in the nose or gums, black stools, or easy bruising are all possible signs of haemorrhage. This form of dengue fever can be life-threatening or even fatal.

The Health Ministry should definitely be firm and take actions ranging from primary health care to tertiary health care. I also wish to add that the general public themselves need to take measures to prevent the breeding of the aedes mosquitos.

No matter how much effort the Ministry puts in to combat the disease, the result will likely be unsatisfactory if the public continue to be apathetic towards the fight against dengue.

I wish to highlight a very good example which I hope the authorities will take note of and do the necessary.

On my recent visit to Sitiawan and Pantai Remis in Manjung district, Perak, I noticed the widespread practice of converting shophouses into breeding grounds for swiftlets in order to collect “birds’ nest”, an expensive delicacy.

These shophouses are located in a densely populated area in the town centre. In order to attract birds into these converted shophouses to build nests, the shophouses are left unoccupied and the owners place clean water which can be left stagnant for days. Obviously, the water left in the shophouses provide the ideal breeding environment for aedes mosquitoes.

In addition, the birds can also carry infectious diseases such as meningitis from their droppings, not to mention the risk of bird flu. It seems that the owners of these shophouses are willing to jeopardise the health of their neighbours and the public for monetary gain.

These converted shophouses are health hazards and are a time bomb for a serious epidemic outbreak.