Woman dies, 43 ill after eating mussels

KOTA KINABALU - A 23-year-old woman died and over 40 people have been hospitalised after they ate toxic mussels due to the red-tide phenomenon.

They were rushed to three hospitals early yesterday morning after eating the mussels bought at the Inanam night market and collected along the Likas Bay beach area.

Sabah Health Director Dr Christina Rundi said 43 people, aged between two and 70, were being treated at the hospital and one man was in critical condition.

The victims were from eight villages within the Inanam area, Kolombong, Likas and one from Tuaran district, she added.

Dr Christina said people should avoid buying, selling and collecting shellfish such as clams and mussels.

The red-tide phenomenon is triggered by a deadly algae bloom, which produces toxic or harmful effects to marine life and turns the water red.

Najihah Paktta, 45, who was visiting eight of her relatives at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, said all of them had consumed mussels bought from street pedlars at about 8pm on Tuesday, and detected the symptoms three hours later.

Earlier at the press conference, Sabah Fisheries Department director Rayner Stuel Galid also warned people against consuming clams and other shellfish until further notice.

"Three people have died from such cases so far," he said.