An 83-year-old woman died and her 84-year-old husband was left fighting for his life in the ICU after consuming puffer fish that they had bought via social media, as reported by The Star.
The incident occurred in Jalan Sin Tiam, Chamek in Kluang, Johor.
According to The Star, the couple had bought the fish from an online seller in Batu Pahat and received the item on Saturday morning. They then cleaned and cooked the fish for lunch and started experiencing breathing difficulties and shivers in the afternoon.
Their son, who lives nearby, rushed both of them to Hospital Enche’ Hajjah Kalsom’s emergency unit for help but the woman died at around 7pm the same day. Her husband is still receiving treatment in the ICU.
The fish was later traced to a fisherman from Endau, Mersing, who sold it to a distributor in Batu Pahat for processing. The online seller then sold 15kg of puffer fish to four customers in Chamek, Paloh (four) and Yong Peng (one) on the same day.
The Health Department in Kluang and Batu Pahat has seized the remaining fish before anyone else can consume them. Puffer fish, also known as Fugu in Japan, contain potent toxins that can cause severe illness and death unless properly cleaned. In Japan, only highly qualified chefs are allowed to serve this dish due to the risks involved.
“The cause of death was identified as food poisoning with neurological manifestation resulting in respiratory failure and irregular heart rate, possibly due to toxin ingestion,” said Johor health and unity committee chairman Ling Tian Soon.
He expressed his condolences to the deceased woman’s family and advised the public to exercise caution when consuming food with known risks.
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