KUALA LUMPUR: The Health Ministry informed that 19 cases of methanol poisoning have been reported to the National Crisis Preparedness and Response Centre (CPRC) for the period from June 11 to Friday (June 21).
Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the three clusters of methanol poisoning involved three states, namely eight cases in Penang, six in Johor and five in Negri Sembilan.
He said clinical samples were taken from all the 19 cases for methanol test analysis in which five cases were positive for methanol while one case was negative but showed symptoms and clinical signs of methanol poisoning.
“Laboratory test results for 13 cases are still pending,” he said in a statement yesterday.
Noor Hisham said methanol poisoning was believed to be caused by drinking counterfeit branded alcohol like Myanmar Whiskey, Miludeer Beer, Whiskey 99 and Martens Extra Strong.
The methanol poisoning episode that began in Penang on June 11, involved eight Myanmar nationals being rushed to Penang Hospital, with two of them dead.
“Until yesterday, one methanol poisoning case was still being treated and was in a critical condition, while the other five had recovered and have been discharged,” he said.
Johor which reported six cases of methanol poisoning since June 18, which included three foreign nationals, saw four of them dead.
“One victim is still being treated at the Sultanah Aminah Hospital and was in a critical condition and one was reported to have blurred vision and is being treated at Sultan Ismail Hospital, Johor Baru,” he said.
Negri Sembilan reported five methanol poisoning cases on Thursday including two deaths in Port Dickson, Dr Noor Hisham said two victims were still critical while one had been placed in a normal ward.
So far, an operation in Penang seized alcoholic drinks and equipment used by a premises to re-package alcoholic drinks illegally, whereas in Johor several types of fake alcoholic drinks were seized at three premises which are believed to distribute the drinks.
He advised consumers to avoid taking home-brewed alcohol or those sold at low prices, and to ensure that each purchased product has a label containing complete information. — Bernama