Senior citizen in Johor dies after eating pufferfish

The woman, 83, died after eating pufferfish. Her husband, 84, is now in the intensive care unit. PHOTOS: SIN CHEW DAILY

KLUANG, Johor - A senior citizen from Johor has died after eating pufferfish, while her husband is now hospitalised in the intensive care unit (ICU).

According to Johor health and unity committee chairman Ling Tian Soon, the 83-year-old woman and her husband, 84, from the village of Chamek, ordered the fish, known in Malay as ikan buntal, through social media.

The couple received the fish last Saturday morning, Mr Ling said.

Chinese newspaper Sin Chew Daily reported that the couple ordered the fish from a fishmonger through Facebook.

“They cleaned and cooked the fish for lunch and around 3pm, the woman started shivering and having breathing difficulties,” Mr Ling told The Star on Tuesday. “About an hour later, her husband began displaying similar symptoms.”

Mr Ling said the couple’s son rushed his parents to Hospital Enche’ Hajjah Kalsom’s emergency unit for treatment.

“The woman was pronounced dead at around 7pm while her husband is still in the ICU,” he added.

It is understood that this was the couple’s first time eating pufferfish, which has body parts that are highly poisonous.

Mr Ling added that the fish they ordered came from a fisherman from the coastal Johor town of Mersing and was processed by a distributor in Batu Pahat.

He said that the seller is also from Batu Pahat and had sold the fish online, adding that 15kg of the fish was sold to four customers in Chamek and the nearby district of Paloh. Another fish was sold to a customer in the town of Yong Peng on the same day.

“Besides the couple, the other customers have yet to consume the fish but the Health Department has obtained samples of the fish from the seller for analysis.

“The public are advised to be careful about what they consume, especially when it comes to food with known risks,” Mr Ling said. THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

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