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Keywords:

  • Aflatoxicosis;
  • hepatic necrosis;
  • ductular metaplasia;
  • Reye-like syndrome;
  • boric acid poisoning

Abstract

An outbreak of food poisoning resulting in 13 deaths in children occurred in Malaysia during the Chinese Festival of the Nine-Emperor Gods in 1988. The offending food was a Chinese noodle called ‘Loh See Fun’ (LSF). The source was traced to a factory where a banned food preservative was added to make the LSF. The food poisoning was attributable to aflatoxins and boric acid. The clinical features included vomiting, pyrexia, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, anorexia, giddiness, seizures, and eventual coma. Initially, many presented with a Reye-Like syndrome. Eleven post-mortem examinations were performed. The pathological findings included extensive coagulative necrosis of the liver with proliferative ‘ductal/ductular metaplasia of the hepatocytes’. Giant cell formation, central vein sclerosis, bile stasis, and steatosis were also noted. There was presence of acute tubular necrosis, superficial upper gastrointestinal erosions, and ensuing encephalopathy. The eventual cause of death is acute hepatic and renal failure.