A suit of casual clothes infested with larvae-like creatures has been traced to China and the organisms do not seem to belong to any insect or parasite species indigenous to Vietnam, officials said Saturday.
A woman named Phung from the central province of Phu Yen bought the suit for VND115,000 (US$5.52) on January 13.
The province market managers said that based on its bar code, they determined that suit was made in China, but there was nothing indicating by whom, or where precisely.
When she washed it, the creatures seemed to appear out of nowhere, and crawled onto her hands.
Phung said she had noticed clumsily sewn seams, but until that moment, she suspected that the creatures had been dried and pressed along the seams.
She said there were thousands of them and they grew fast in water, from as thin as a thread, to the size of a chopstick head overnight. They also laid eggs.
She tried some insecticides, but proved ineffective, and ended up burying them and putting concrete above, after samples had been collected by local police and health officials.
The samples have been sent to the Institute of Ecological Resources in Hanoi after the Institute of Malaria, Insects and Parasites in the provincial capital town of Quy Nhon could not identify them.
"We have never seen this creature as it does not belong to any insect or parasite species we have been aware of. We found nothing like it in our books. It's a pretty strange creature," said Le Ngoc Linh, deputy head of the institute under the Health Ministry.
Le Dinh Dung, an engineer from the parasite department of Ho Chi Minh City Preventive Health Center, said the creature could either represent an undiscovered species, or be the result of mutations.
Dung said he suspected the creatures to be nothing more than rumors, as he had never encountered any organism possessing the characteristics described by those who told him about them.
Earlier, the Quy Nhon Institute suggested the creatures were normal flea larvae, which are not dangerous to humans.
But Dung said experts in the field know flea larvae when they see them. Such larvae do not grow in water, but on the bodies of animals.
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