Fish and meat left to rot in the Hau Tak market in Tseung Kwan O since it was ravaged by fire more than three weeks ago could pose a health hazard if it is not cleaned up soon, a health expert has warned. Lo Wing-lok, vice-chairman of the League of Social Democrats, said he feared that conditions in the partly opened market could lead to rat infestation and disease. Dr Lo and legislator Leung Kwok-hung visited the market yesterday accompanied by contractors from Majorluck, which manages the market on behalf of The Link Management. 'We encountered dead fish and rotting meat,' Dr Lo said. 'We can't tell how bad it is going to be in the closed sections.' He said the market was littered with garbage and there were puddles of water on the floor, adding that it had not been cleaned since the blaze. 'There was garbage and leftover food,' he said. 'Water was dripping from the loft.' Dr Lo said conditions were ideal for mosquitoes and that the rotting garbage could cause a rat problem. 'Rats thrive in poor sanitary conditions,' he said. 'Rat excrement can cause hantavirus, while their urine can cause leptospirosis.' A hantavirus infection causes pneumonia and kidney failure, and may lead to death. Leptospirosis, a bacterial infection, can cause brain, kidney and liver damage. 'It's quite ridiculous that the market has not been cleaned,' he said. Dr Lo said as the weather was getting warmer and humid, it was necessary for the cleaning and sanitising to be done as soon as possible. 'If The Link and the management will not take the responsibility, the government should take part in it.' The Food and Environmental Hygiene Department said the market management had promised to have the premises cleaned in two to three days. It also said it would work closely with The Link. Majorluck did not comment.