KOTA KINABALU: The deaths of two men after they consumed toxic sea cucumber in the northern Kudat district was an isolated incident as the marine creature was safe for consumption, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Yahya Hussin said.
Likening sea cucumber to mushrooms, he said there were the edible types as well as those which were toxic.
He said this was the first time he came to know of deaths due to consuming sea cucumber.
The two men, aged 51 and 54, died at the Queen Elizabeth hospital here last Thursday after they were taken ill from eating sea cucumber at Kampung Suangpai in Kudat.
They vomited and suffered from numb-ness and breathing difficulties when their families rushed them to the Kudat hospital, after which they were transferred to the Queen Elizabeth hospital.
State Fisheries Department director Rayner Stuel Galid said two other people who took the meal were also treated at Kudat hospital but their symptoms were less severe.
He said the four of them had eaten a type of sea cucumber locally known as pelanduk laut.
“This particular species can be discerned from others by the black and purple dots found on them,” Rayner said.
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