Three highland children killed by wild fruit poisoning in northern Vietnam

By Hoang Phan, Thanh Nien News

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Samples of a wild tree whose fruits led to fatal poisoning amond H'Mong children in Ha Giang Province last weekend. Photo: Ky Duyen Samples of a wild tree whose fruits led to fatal poisoning amond H'Mong children in Ha Giang Province last weekend. Photo: Ky Duyen

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Two H'Mong children died last week after eating strange wild fruit, according to police in the mountainous Meo Vac District in northern Vietnam.
The story began when three young residents of the mountainous border province of Ha Giang began eating an unknown red fruit while shepherding a herd of goats through the jungle last Saturday.
Giang Mi Ma, 8, his brothers Giang Mi Di, 6 and Giang Thi Pa, 7 developed poisoning symptoms including stomachache and vomiting that night and were taken to the commune medical center, which quickly transferred them to Meo Vac General Hospital.
The brothers died the next morning while Pa, who reportedly ate less, recovered after four days of treatment.
The boy was discharged Wednesday afternoon.
Tran Kim Ngoc, vice chairman of the province’s Meo Vac District, said the authorities have collected samples of the fruit for testing and given the bereaved family VND8 million to cover the cost of the funerals.
Vien said their investigation was hindered by the family's refusal to allow forensic tests to be conducted on their children.
The police officers are waiting for Pa to fully recover before questioning him. They hope to create a clear warning about the dangers of the fruit for others.
News website Dan Tri said three other boys aged 5, 11, and 13 in neighboring Cao Bang Province died on the spot last Friday while gorging on wild fruit.
More than ten others remain under treatment.
Ethnic minorities residing in the northern highlands have fallen victim to poisoning from wild fungi and musty cornstarch in the past.

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