In Johor, senior citizen dies after eating exotic puffer fish

·2-min read
Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KLUANG, March 28 — A 83-year-old woman has died after eating puffer fish, while her husband is being treated in the intensive care unit (ICU) after the couple ate the fish in a dish last weekend.

Johor Health and Unity Committee chairman Ling Tian Soon said that the couple from Chamek near here, had received an order of puffer fish and decided to prepare it to be eaten on Saturday.

He said after eating the fish, the elderly couple were rushed to the Enche’ Hajjah Kalsom Hospital here after they experienced symptoms such as shortness of breath and shivering.

"The elderly woman had earlier reported breathing difficulty and shivering at 3pm and her husband also experienced the same symptoms after an hour on the same day.

"Both were rushed to the Enche’ Hajjah Kalsom Hospital here about an hour apart by their son.

"The husband was receiving treatment at the hospital’s emergency unit at 5pm, but his wife was pronounced dead at 7pm,” said Ling on his Facebook today.

Ling, who is also the Yong Peng assemblyman, said checks revealed that the couple had obtained a supply of puffer fish from a seller after pre-ordering it through Facebook.

He said after the couple received the fish on Saturday, they prepared and fried it for lunch.

It is understood that it was the couple’s first time consuming puffer fish.

Ling said further investigations found that the fish was obtained from fishermen in Endau, before being taken by wholesalers to be sold in Batu Pahat.

He said puffer fish sellers from Batu Pahat will deliver to customers based on orders through their Facebook.

"A total of 15 kilogrammes of the puffer fish were sold to four customers in Chamek and Paloh, incliding one in Yong Peng on that day.

"Apart from the couple, the other customers have not eaten their puffer fish yet,” he said.

Ling said the Kluang and Batu Pahat district health offices have taken samples of the fish from customers who had bought them from related sellers to be sent to a laboratory for analysis.

He said that until today, there have been no new reports related to the puffer fish poisoning.

"People are asked to always be careful when choosing their type of food, especially if it has known risks," he said.

Puffer fish are among some of the most poisonous seafood in the world. Despite that, the exotic fish dish is eaten as a delicacy in many Asian countries.

It is also a popular delicacy in Japan where it is called fugu.

Puffer fish contain the neurotoxin tetrodotoxin, which is far more of a potent poison than arsenic or cyanide. There is no known antidote.