JOHOR BAHRU,. An 84-year-old man who suffered poisoning after eating pufferfish on March 25, was confirmed dead at Enche’ Besar Hajjah Khalsom Hospital, Kluang, this morning.

State health and unity committee chairman Ling Tian Soon said the victim was the spouse of an 83-year-old woman who died after they ate the fish at noon on the same day.

He said the man was earlier transferred to the medical ward on Wednesday (April 5) in a conscious state with the patient’s vital signs stable, although he was breathing with the aid of a respirator and fed through ‘Ryle’s Tube’.

“However, at about 5.20 am today, he was unresponsive while the nurse was taking care of another patient. Emergency assistance was provided immediately before he was pronounced dead at 6.20 am in the morning,” he said in a statement tonight.

Ling said the remains of the deceased have been handed over to the Forensic Unit before being handed to his next-of-kin for funeral arrangements.

He said the Johor State Health Department (JKNJ) had already taken action when a report on the first case was received and conducted an investigation, identifying the suppliers, wholesalers and sellers involved in the pufferfish transaction.

“JKNJ has and will hold several discussions with the Fisheries Department and some local universities that have expertise in the field of fisheries and toxins or poisons to get a comprehensive solution regarding this issue.

“Thus, the state government and JKNJ request that Johor citizens always be careful in choosing food, especially if it has known risks,” he said, adding that the relevant district health office had also opened an investigation paper under the Food Act 1983.

It is understood that it was the first time that the couple, who lived at Jalan Sin Tiam Chamek in Kluang, had eaten pufferfish-based cuisine allegedly through a pre-order purchase from a seller through Facebook.

On March 28, Ling reportedly said that an elderly woman died on March 25, while her husband was warded in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), after both were poisoned after the pufferfish meal.

Following that, on March 29, Fisheries Dept director-general Datuk Adnan Hussain was reported to have advised the public to avoid eating pufferfish of unknown type because almost all types of puffer fish contain toxins that can cause poisoning if not prepared or cooked correctly.

— Bernama



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