KOTA KINABALU: Two men have died after eating a poisonous species of sea cucumber in Sabah’s northern Kudat district.
State Fisheries Department director Rayner Stuel Galid said the deaths were due to the consumption of a species of sea cucumber known locally as pelanduk laut and unrelated to the red tide poisoning.
“We tested the specimen and found that the sea cucumber has its own toxin,” he said.
The men, aged 51 and 54, died at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital here on Thursday after they became ill from eating the sea cucumber during a meal with four other people at Kg Suangpai in Kudat.
It is learnt that the two men, who had suffered from severe vomiting, numbness and breathing difficulties, were initially treated at the Kudat Hospital on Wednesday before being transferred to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital here.
Two others who took the same meal were also treated in Kudat but they had less severe symptoms.
The toxic sea cucumber, which has black and purple dots, is found in Kudat’s Marudu bay.
Two people have so far died from red tide poisoning in Sabah since it first occurred off its shores in November in a phenomenon that is expected to last until June.
The red tide phenomenon is triggered by a deadly algae bloom, which produces toxic or harmful effects to marine life and turns the water red.