Medical Journal of Malaysia

MJM, Vol 70 Supplement 1 September 2015

Plectocomiopsis Mira poisoning outbreakamong barge workers at Nanga Gaat, Kapit, 2015

Winnie Johnny, Hasrina Hassan, Philip Ngalambong, Johan Sidu

Kapit Divisional Health Office, Kapit, Sarawak


Introduction: A food poisoning outbreak was reported on 24 March 2015 by Kapit Hospital involving 3 barge workers at Nanga Gaat Kapit. One death was reported. The cases were reported as suspected Umbut Matar poisoning. Umbut matar or Plectocomiopsis mira contains alkaloid, which affects human nervous system causing incoordination, fits, abdominal pain, vomiting and death. It has similar physical appearance with Umbut laleh, an edible local delicacy. Investigation was carried out to identify causes and recommend preventive measures.

Methods: Cases were interviewed for their symptoms and their one-day food history. Epidemiological investigation was carried out to determine incubation period and attack rate.

Results: The most common clinical symptoms were arthralgia (100%, n=3), followed by chest pain (33.3%, n=1), unsteadiness (33.3%, n=1) and vomiting (33.3%, n=1). The incubation periods of the cases were 15-60 minutes. Umbut Matar had the highest attack rate (100%).

Conclusion: Consumption of Umbut Matar has been found to cause death. Based on the symptoms, short incubation period plus previous occurrence of Umbut matar outbreak poisoning with similar presentations in Kapit (2013) suggest that Umbut matar is the most likely cause of this food poisoning. Recommendations are made to create awareness to public to differentiate Umbut Matar from other types of edible Umbut.