Two Malaysians die after eating puffer fish

Kuala LumpurĀ  - Malaysia's health department in the southern state of Johor has issued a warning against consuming puffer fish after two Malaysian women died from eating the poisonous fish, a news report said Saturday.

"We seriously caution people from eating the fish, and have circulated posters and fliers warning people about eating it," said department head Mohamad Khairi Yakub.

Mohamad Khairi said two women, aged 54 and 83, have died from eating the fish, which is widely sold in markets in the state.

"Our officers are monitoring premises and markets in the affected areas, and we are stopping the sale of the fish anywhere it is found," he was quoted as saying by the Star daily.

In May and June of this year, a total of 34 others have been reported to have suffered from food poisoning after consuming the fish, he said.

The puffer fish contains tetrodotoxin, a lethal poison, and if not cut or prepared correctly, is dangerous to eat. The toxin causes numbness in the mouth and attacks the nervous system, causing respiratory problems, leading to death in some cases. (dpa)