Twenty-seven individuals who attended a funeral in Pursat province's Krakor district were rushed to Krakor district and Pursat provincial referral hospitals due to suspected rice-wine poisoning.
Kampong Por commune chief, Phi Phoeun, said that villagers reported on June 2 that one person had died and 27 others experienced health problems after participating in the funeral on the night of June 1. The funeral was held in Mort Prey village, in memory of an 88-year-old man.
Upon receiving this information, he promptly contacted the health centre in the commune, who in turn reached out to the health office at Krakor district for assistance in transporting the affected individuals to the district's health centre.
Six of the patients were in critical condition and required immediate transfer to the provincial referral hospital. However, they have since recovered and were discharged on June 5.
"Twenty-one patients who were admitted to Krakor district hospital were discharged on June 4, while the other six individuals who were hospitalised at the provincial hospital were discharged on the morning of June 5."
Rice-wine consumption has been suspected to be the cause of the poisoning.
Phoeun urges people to be more cautious and, ideally, reduce their intake of rice wine. He highlighted a similar case in the past where more than 80 people in the commune suffered from wine poisoning, resulting in 11 deaths.
Chan Sokha, director of Pursat provincial referral hospital, confirmed all discharged individuals had shown improvement and were released on the morning of June 5. Preliminary examinations revealed signs of alcoholism among them, but it is premature to definitively attribute their conditions to wine poisoning. Confirmation must await the results of sample testing.
Mok Phearum, Krakor district police chief, stated that it was too early for the police to draw conclusions regarding the health issues affecting the 28 individuals. He said authorities had sent wine consumed during the event to officials at the Consumer Protection Competition and Fraud Repression Directorate-General (CCF) in Phnom Penh for examination.
"Without proper documentation confirming the presence of toxic substances in the rice wine, we cannot make any assumptions. We suspect wine poisoning due to the timing of the incident—those affected consumed the rice wine at night and subsequently experienced health problems and deaths,” he said.
He added that police will take further action once they receive the laboratory results and sample testing findings from the medical team.