KKM confirms 19 dead in metanol poisoning case

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 18 (Bernama) -- The Health Ministry (KKM) has confirmed that as of 5 pm today, 19 people have died due to methanol poisoning.

Health Director-General Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the ministry received notification of 51 methanol poisoning cases, with 45 cases in Selangor and six in Kuala Lumpur, with three of the victims locals and 48 from various countries, including Myanmar, Nepal, Bangladesh and India.

He said besides the 19 recorded deaths, 14 patients were currently in a critical state, nine hospitalised for treatment and observation, and nine others have been discharged after undergoing treatment.

"The number of cases may increase as more patients have come forward seeking treatment for methanol poisoning,” he said in a statement tonight.

He said the patients displayed symptoms of methanol poisoning such as abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, blurred vision while some also experienced breathing difficulties,  seizures and loss of consciousness.

Dr Noor Hisham said investigations conducted by the Kuala Lumpur Federal Territory Health Department, the Selangor State Health Department and affected District Health Offices found that all the patients had bought the alcohol at premises around Kuala Lumpur and Selangor. 

Samples of the alcoholic drinks taken during investigation into the case and a check of the premises have been sent to the Sungai Buloh National Public Health Laboratory (MKAK) for an analysis of their contents.

He said the ministry have lodged a police report on the matter to identify the distributor and producer of the drink and determine the cause of poisoning, as well as stop the supply of the contaminated alcoholic drink  in the market.

“The ministry through the Food Safety and Quality Division is intensifying enforcement on alcoholic drinks which contravene the Food Act 1983 especially suspect alcoholic drink products and other brands which do not comply with the Food Regulations 1985," he said.

He said under Section 13 of the Food Act 1983, any individual found preparing or selling foods which contain poisonous substances, cause damage or affect health, is deemed to have committed an offence and if found guilty, could be fined up to RM100,000 or imprisoned up to 10 years, or both.

“The ministry advises the public to stay away from all alcoholic drinks which may contain methanol which could have health problems with symptoms like breathing difficulties, abdominal pains, nausea or vomiting, diarrhoea, severe headaches, blurry vision and seizures, as well as cause death,” he said.

Selangor Police Chief Datuk Mazlan Mansor in a statement this afternoon said 15 people died while 33 more have been admitted into various hospitals in the Klang Valley since yesterday, suspected to be due to alcohol poisoning.

-- BERNAMA 






HealthEdge


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