PUTRAJAYA - Two more people have died of suspected methanol poisoning, bringing the number of deaths to 21.
The Health Ministry recorded six new cases of suspected poisoning in the Klang Valley, including the two latest deaths reported at private hospitals.
A ministry statement on Tuesday said the victims had consumed Mandalay Whiskey, Kingfisher Beer and Grand Royal Whiskey bought from shops in the Klang Valley on Monday.
But an analysis later of three brand samples collected showed that only the Grand Royal Whiskey was found to contain methanol and did not adhere to the Food Act.
The number of suspected cases reported at government health facilities as at Wednesday was 55 – Selangor with 48 and Kuala Lumpur, seven.
The number of cases at private health facilities could not be confirmed yet, except for the two who died, said Health Minister Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad.
“The number of cases is expected to increase when more patients seek treatment,” he told a press conference yesterday.
Dr Dzulkefly said that as at Wednesday, 291 bottles of alcoholic drinks of various brands had been confiscated.
The affected drinkers include Malaysians (five), Nepalese (22), Myanmar nationals (15), Bangladeshis (nine), India nationals (two), Indonesian (one) and one whose nationality is unknown.
“In Kuala Lumpur, there are seven cases, with three deaths while the surviving ones are two intubated patients and two who are already out of danger.
“In Selangor, out of the 48 cases, of which there were 16 deaths, there are 22 victims still in the intensive care unit or in the ward.
“So far, 10 patients from Selangor have been discharged,” he said.
Dr Dzulkefly said there were no plans to clamp down on bars at this point but to create awareness about alcohol poisoning.
He said the last episode of alcohol poisoning was reported in 2013 with 29 deaths out of 44 cases reported.
Asked if there were suspected methanol poisoning cases reported in other states, he said the ministry had not been notified yet.
He said the poisoning could be due to adulterated drinks and not the original make.