Unidentified berry kills two, hospitalizes 18 in central Vietnam

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Two children died and 18 others were hospitalized after eating an unidentified berry in the central highlands province of Dak Lak Thursday, according to a report by Tuoi Tre.


Witnesses said a group of children in M'Drak District's Hamlet 7 found a strange vine while herding buffalo in their fields.


Fruits that resembled grapes grew from the vine, according to witnesses who said the children then brought the grape-like berries back to their home village and shared them with other children.


The newspaper reported that the children then soon developed symptoms of food poisoning.


Giang A Sang, 6, and Giang Seo San, 12, died, while 18 others were admitted to M'Drak General Hospital, including four in critical condition.


Dr. Nguyen Quang Thua, director of the hospital, told Tuoi Tre that the children were hospitalized with vomiting, dizziness, fever, stomachaches and other symptoms.


They are all now in stable condition, but they are being kept at the hospital for further observation, Tuoi Tre reported.


Thua said doctors had yet to identify the toxin in the fruit. Meanwhile, local agencies have sent a sample of the fruit for tests at the Institute of Hygiene and Public Health in Ho Chi Minh City.


Ma Seo Lao, head of the Hamlet 7, said locals had seen the fruit before but no one had ever identified it or tried to eat it before.


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