The National Tropical Diseases Hospital in Hanoi recently admitted two men infected with swine bacteria after eating raw pig’s blood, but they were in such a bad condition it could not save them.
Doctors at the hospital said the men were infected with the streptococcus bacterium, which caused respiratory decline, blood contamination, and severe necrosis in their arms and legs.
Their families brought them to the hospital last Saturday, but they fell into a deep coma after one day and their internal organs stopped functioning. Their families took them home where they died.
One of them, a 55-year-old from nearby Hoa Binh Province, had raw pig blood pudding three days earlier. The other patient was a 40-year-old from Ninh Binh Province, also in the north.
The hospital admitted three other similar cases during the weekend. One of them is still in a coma while the other two have regained consciousness, but doctors said they would need to stay for long for treatment.
Dr Nguyen Trung Cap of the hospital’s emergency department told news website VnExpress that it normally gets five such cases a month.
The hot weather could be the cause of the surge in numbers last weekend, he said.
“Raw blood pudding left in hot weather is an ideal environment for bacteria to multiply.”
Experts from the Preventive Health Department said swine bacteria infection usually causes meningitis or septic shock, which can quickly lead to fatal multiple organ failure. The infection has been claiming lives in northern Vietnam every year.
They strictly warned against eating raw blood pudding (tiet canh) or undercooked pig intestines, both of which are northern specialties that used to be safe many years ago because of hygienic farming and slaughter.
Pork that is unusually red or bleeding also carries infection risks and should not be used for cooking, they said.
One should go to a hospital if there is high fever after coming into direct contact with sick pigs, they added.