An unknown fish has attacked three children in the Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap, leaving them critically injured, Tuoi Tre quoted a local doctor as saying Saturday.
Dr. Nguyen Van Hoang from Thap Muoi District Hospital said two of the children, seven-year-old Nguyen Huu Thien and four-year-old Nguyen Hoan Hao, are still in the hospital after the attacks on August 5 and 9 respectively.
Both of them suffered serious injuries to their penises Thien lost most of his while Hao lost half of it, Hoang said, adding that doctors have conducted surgeries to re-join the boys with their severed members.
It was "good" that the injuries did not have any sign of venom, the doctor noted.
According to Nguyen Huu Tinh, Thien's father, his son was attacked when he was swimming in the Kenh Giua River, which is between four and five meters wide, with six other children.
After they had been swimming for some 30 minutes, adults who were nearby heard Thien cry out loud and saw him trying to get something off his penis.
The adults then jumped into the river, took him to the bank and rushed him to the hospital.
Hao, meanwhile, was attacked when he was swimming in the same river with his elder sister, Tuoi Tre reported.
Details on the case of the third victim, who has been discharged from the hospital, were not immediately available.
Speaking to the newspaper, an unnamed expert from the National Center for Southern Freshwater Species said that he was "surprised" at the reports, given that freshwater fish species in the Mekong Delta are not known for attacking humans.
The center will propose that local agencies in Dong Thap issue warnings to local people about swimming in the river while also using all methods at their disposal to identify the mysterious fish, the expert said.
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