Elderly woman dies, husband in ICU after eating puffer fish

JOHOR BARU • A woman senior citizen died, while her husband is still being treated in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), believed to have been poisoned after eating puffer fish, on Saturday.

Johor Health and Unity Committee chairman Ling Tian Soon said the 83-year-old woman started showing symptoms of shortness of breath and shivering before being followed by her husband an hour later with the same symptoms, at about 3pm after eating the fish at noon.

“The couple were taken to the Enche’ Besar Hajjah Khalsom Hospital, Kluang by their children who live separately before the wife was pronounced dead at 7pm, the same day.

“The case is classified as food poisoning caused by puffer fish. In fact, the ‘cause of death’ is given as ‘food poisoning with neurological manifestation resulting in respiratory failure with cardiac dysrhythmia possibly due to ciguatera toxin or tetradotoxin ingestion’, from the puffer fish,” he said in a statement last night.

Ling said it was understood that this was the first time the couple who lived in Jalan Sin Tiam Chamek, Kluang ate puffer fish-based dishes by getting the supply from a seller in advance through Facebook.

However, he said that until now, no new report has been received regarding the case and said all the fish sold on that date had already been taken by the District Health Office (PKD) concerned for the purpose of analysis.

“Further investigation found that the fresh puffer fish was obtained from fishermen in Endau, Mersing before being taken by wholesalers to be processed in Batu Pahat and then distributed to customers based on orders.

“I would like to remind the people of Johor to be careful in choosing food especially if it has risks,” said Ling who added that the woman’s husband who is still being treated in the ICU. – Bernama