2 dead, at least 61 ill after eating contaminated laksa in Malaysia

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ALOR SETAR - Up to 61 cases of food poisoning - with two deaths - have been reported from victims after consuming laksa (a spicy noodle soup) from an eatery in Baling, Kedah.

Of the 61 cases, 24 were detected in Kedah, Perak (16) and Selangor (21), said Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah in a press statement on Tuesday (Oct 9).

From the total, 21 people have been hospitalised in various hospitals in the three states, while 38 others received outpatient treatment.

All are reported to be in stable condition.

Subsequent investigations found seven more cases from one family whose members suffered from fever, diarrhoea and vomiting, Kedah Health director Datuk Dr Norhizan Ismail said in a statement.

"They were reported to have eaten the laksa at 9.30pm on Oct 4. It was bought by the father of the deceased at a stall in Kupang, Baling, at 5.30pm on the same day," he said.

Dr Norhizan said that on Oct 7, two more cases of food poisoning were admitted to the Gerik Hospital, also after eating the laksa bought from the same stall on Oct 4.

One of these patients was referred to the Raja Permaisuri Bainun Hospital in Ipoh but the patient died at 2.31pm on Oct 7, he added.

He said 10 cases of food poisoning related to same source were reported by the Baling District Health office and the victims were treated at the Baling Hospital.

"Investigations by the District Health Office of the Kedah Health Department and the Perak Health Department are ongoing," he said.

He said the ministry advised those with symptoms of food poisoning to seek immediate medical treatment at the nearest health facility.

The Kedah Health Department conducted an examination of the stall and ordered it to close temporarily, he said.

He also said that several clinical and food samples had been taken for laboratory tests.

"The public does not have to worry because the incident is under control. The people are advised to always observe food hygiene by selecting clean food outlets and to see, smell and taste any food before eating," Bernama reported him as saying.