A Workshop on Rodent and Rodent Borne Diseases was held on November 12 -13, 2013 at the Bukit Jalil Campus, International Medical University (IMU). The workshop was organised by the Centre for Environmental and Population Health under the Institute for Research, Development and Innovation (IRDI). Rodent diseases have always been a public health concern over the world. Global climate change has also created greater awareness among the Federal and State Health Departments, and other relevant agencies with regards to the importance of rodent control. This workshop was designed to provide the necessary knowledge on rodent ecology and behaviour for both ground staff and policy planners to plan and implement appropriate programmes to mitigate damage and control disease transmission. This workshop was timely in view of the rat problems highlighted in the press recently.
Three Merdeka Award winners were among the speakers of this workshop; they were Dr. Lim Boo Liat (WHO Consultant), Prof Emeritus Yong Hoi Sen (UM), and Prof. Mak Joon Wah (IMU). Dr. Lim gave a detailed account of the diversity of rodents in Malaysia while Prof. Yong deliberated on the use of molecular methods in the identification of rodents. Prof. Mak spoke on rat-borne microbes and their health implications. Other interesting topics covered in this workshop included impacts of environmental change on rodents, and advances in rodent control given by Prof. Stephen Ambu. In addition, Assoc. Prof. Verasingam highlighted the international regulations on rodent control while Dr. Ivan Yap gave an overview of the potential applications of metobonomics in rodent research. Besides lectures, there were two hands-on practical sessions, one on ectoparasites from rodents facilitated by Mr. John Jeffrey, and another on endoparasites facilitated by Assoc. Prof. Patricia Lim.
A total of 23 participants attended this workshop. Aside from IMU faculty, this workshop also attracted participants from Kuala Lumpur City Hall, Subang Jaya Municipal Council, KLIA Health Office, Ministry of Health, Penang Port Sdn. Bhd., Petaling Jaya Health Office, and Foggers Marketing Sdn. Bhd. Overall, the workshop was well attended and has been very fruitful.