KUALA LUMPUR – 19 people were dead, 14 remained critical while 9 more were admitted after suffering from alcohol poisoning.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) confirmed that they have received 51 cases of methanol poisoning cases from Selangor (45 cases) and the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur (6 cases) as of yesterday.
Its Director-General, Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said, the cases is expected to increase when more victims seek treatment for the case.
According to him, only nine victims were discharged.
All patients had history of consuming compounding hard liquor.
Dr Noor Hisham said, based on the investigation, all victims had purchase the alcohol in premises around Kuala Lumpur and Selangor.
The samples of the alcohol taken during the investigation and inspections on the premises selling the items were sent to the Sungai Buloh National Public Health Laboratory for analysis.
All victims showed symptoms of methanol poisoning such as abdominal pain, vomiting, nausea, blurred vision while some also experienced breathing difficulties, seizures and loss of consciousness.
Early symptoms of the poisoning were shown in one or two days after consuming the drinks.
He said, the MOH had informed all health facilities to be on their toes in treating these cases if patients seek treatment at the clinics and hospitals with methanol poisoning symptoms.
A police report had also been made by the MOH to identify distributors and manufacturers of the drinks as well as to identify the source of poisoning and to stop the distribution of the contaminated product in the market.
MOH, through the Food Safety And Quality Division is increasing enforcement on alcohol products which did not comply with the Food Act 1983 and Food Regulations 1985.
Uunder 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 public is also asked to stay away from consuming alcohol which may contain methanol.
The MOH will continue to work with the police and all agencies involved to monitor the development of the poisoning. Development on the incident will be updated from time to time, he said. -MalaysiaGazette