Three people have been hospitalized in the central city of Da Nang with illnesses originating from a swine bacterium, two of them having eaten grilled pork and blood soup from homebred pigs.
Da Nang General Hospital said the patients, all adults, were infected with Streptococcus suis bacterium, a pork-based pathogen.
Two patients said they raise pigs at home and recently slaughtered some to make grilled pork and "tiet canh," a pudding type dish made from the uncooked pig blood.
It is not clear how the third patient contracted the disease.
The Da Nang Health Department has asked related agencies to regularly check the condition of pigs in the area to contain any outbreak of the disease, as well as others, among local herds, to prevent the infection from spreading to the local human population.
The bacterium can be transmitted to humans, especially those with exposed cuts or scrapes, through the handling of infected pig carcasses or meat.
Local health officials warned more human infections might crop up when a large number of pigs are butchered and eaten for the upcoming Lunar New Year festival, now less than a month away. They have asked local residents and officials to be on the alert for pigs with dubious origins that are often smuggled into the city for the festival season.
Humans infected with the bacterium can suffer severe consequences including meningitis, septicaemia, endocarditis and deafness.
Fatalities from the bacterium are uncommon, though several have died from it in Vietnam. One man in Hanoi died last December after eating pig blood pudding, and at least two others in central Vietnam died in 2011 after eating tainted pork.
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