20 Secondary School Students Treated For Methanol Poisoning In Pitas

KOTA KINABALU: A total of 20 students of a secondary boarding school in Pitas were treated for suspected methanol poisoning at Pitas Hospital after they consumed carbonated drinks laced with spirit on Tuesday (June 6).

Sabah health deputy director (public health) Dr Asits Sanna (HE) said out of the 20 students, aged 13 to 17, eight of them had suffered stomachaches, vomiting, blurred vision and headaches, and from the eight, two were admitted to intensive care units, one each at Queen Elizabeth Hospital and Queen Elizabeth 2 Hospital for further treatment yesterday.

“Out of the remaining six, five have been sent to Queen Elizabeth Hospital and one is being treated at Pitas Hospital. Preliminary investigations revealed they took the drinks at 2.30 pm on Tuesday.

“The first victim began to show symptoms at 8 pm that same day, while the last was at 6.30 pm Thursday,” he said in a statement here today, adding that the 12 students without symptoms were admitted to the Pitas Hospital ward for observation and further treatment.

Dr Asits said relevant samples have been taken to confirm the presence of methanol including blood, urine and of the spirit itself, and investigations were ongoing to determine the true cause of the incident.

He explained that an individual suffering from methanol poisoning might not show any symptoms for one to 72 hours after taking it, but symptoms would appear faster if the quantity of methanol consumed was more.

He also stressed that drinking tainted or illegal alcoholic drinks was dangerous and advised the public to seek immediate treatment if they suffered symptoms of methanol poisoning, including vomiting, stomachaches, headaches or blurred vision. – Bernama

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