Hot pot attendees hit by carbon monoxide poisoning

Health authorities said on Tuesday that fourteen people were hospitalised for suspected carbon monoxide poisoning after a hot pot dinner in Wan Chai.

The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) said the six men and eight women, aged between 23 and 39, had a hot pot dinner using charcoal as fuel at a restaurant on Lockhart Road on Monday.

Around two hours into the meal, they developed symptoms such as loss of consciousness, dizziness, vomiting, nausea, headache, shortness of breath and palpitation.

They were sent to Ruttonjee, Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth Hospitals. Four of them were later transferred to Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital for hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

Four of the patients have been discharged, while the rest are in stable condition.

The CHP said the group ate in an air-conditioned room with the windows and door closed, adding that the level of carbon monoxide might have increased over the course of the dinner.

“Carbon monoxide is a colourless, odourless and tasteless gas that is a by-product from incomplete combustion of any fuel that contains carbon, such as wood, natural gas and gasoline,” it said.

“Exposure to a low concentration of carbon monoxide can lead to a range of symptoms such as dizziness, headache, tiredness and nausea, whereas exposure to a high concentration of carbon monoxide can lead to impaired vision, disturbed co-ordination, unconsciousness, brain damage or even death.”

It reminded the public to use vented fuel-burning appliances in a well-ventilated area.

Responding to RTHK’s enquiry, the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department said the restaurant involved is suspected of breaching the Food Business Regulation for using charcoal as fuel.

It added that the eatery will be prosecuted after officials found that it’d violated the four-person table rule.
Last updated: 2021-09-07 HKT 22:31