Two school boys die from methanol poisoning in Pitas – 25 discharged

KOTA KINABALU: The second student in critical condition from methanol poisoning in Pitas died of severe brain injury at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital 2 (HQE2) yesterday.
He was one of two 17-year-old fifth-formers at the secondary boarding school in Pitas who fell into critical condition after a group of 27 students consumed a carbonated drink mixed with methanol on June 6.
Kota Marudu District police chief Supt Zairolnizal Ishak, when contacted today, said the student under treatment at the ICU of HQE 2 died on June 15, making two victims dead in the incident.
Sabah State Public Health deputy director Dr Asits Sanna said the first student, who was critical at HQE 1, died on Wednesday (June 14) from multiple organ failure due to methanol poisoning.
 Supt Zairolnizal said the death of the second student was due to ‘severe brain injury (cerebral toxicity) secondary to acute methanol poisoning’, and that the bodies of the two students did not need to undergo a post-mortem as the cause of death had been determined.
“Both cases are classified as sudden death (SDR),” he said.
Meanwhile, the Sabah State Health Department confirmed at 10 am yesterday (June 15) that all 27 students had been poisoned by methanol.
Dr Asits said proxy sample results were confirmed to contain 89 per cent methanol in content by the Chemistry Department on June 12.
He said the other 25 students had been released from the hospital after their conditions improved.
He added that the State Health Department would like to emphasise and advise the public against the danger of consuming illegal and contaminated alcoholic beverages.
“If you experience signs of methanol poisoning such as stomach ache, vomiting, headache or blurred vision after consuming alcoholic beverages, seek immediate treatment at the nearest health facility,” he said in a statement today.
On June 9, Dr Asits was reported to have said that 20 students, aged 13 to 17, were involved in a case of methanol poisoning, believed to be caused by drinking a mixture of carbonated water and ‘wood spirit’ on June 6.


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