Man dies from eating poisonous pufferfish

Pav Suy / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
The man who died from eating the fish, which police took pictures of afterwards. Supplied

Authorities in Kratie province yesterday said that one man has died and his family is recovering after eating poisonous pufferfish on Wednesday in Chhlaung district.

District governor Heng Sotha said Khat Khan, 57, his wife Horm Pok, 53, and daughter Khan Raty, 18, ate the poisonous pufferfish on Wednesday, despite an earlier warning from the Health Ministry to avoid its consumption.

District police chief Chhong Turann said the family immediately became ill after consuming the fish and were sent to the Memot district referral hospital.

But Mr Khan died on his way to hospital, Mr Turann noted, adding that his family was yesterday morning discharged from the hospital after making a full recovery through speedy treatment by doctors.

“The people in the village normally fish in a nearby lake and this family caught some fish to eat,” he said. “However, when they consumed the fish they quickly fell ill, and the husband started to vomit, have diarrhea and a stomachache.”

“A short while later, the wife and daughter also started having the same symptoms and they were all sent to the Memot district referral hospital, where the husband was pronounced dead and the mother and the daughter were able to recover.”

Mr Turran said that police afterwards went to inspect the family’s home and found more of the poisonous pufferfish, which they discarded.

Sieng Chheng, deputy director of Memot district referral hospital, said the husband’s condition was too far advanced for doctors to save his life, but noted his family was rescued by doctors who quickly administered antidotes.

“They were sent to our hospital, but the husband died before he arrived,” he said. “We could do nothing to bring him back to life. The other two woman requested to leave the hospital this morning after they were saved by our treatment.”

Last month, a similar case occurred in Koh Kong province, where fisherman hauled six kilograms of fish and shared it among nine men, leading to the death of one.

Afterwards, the Ministry of Health issued a public notice, warning villagers to avoid eating the poisonous pufferfish, which included Tetraodon cochinchinensis, Monotrete leiurus and Tetraodon fluviatilis, each of which can lead to serious illness or death.

The Health Ministry notice added that the fish are more poisonous during breeding season, from February to March, and from July to August.

It warned villagers that symptoms of poisoning would usually appear within 24 hours of consumption and that they should immediately seek medical treatment.

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