Raw snails pose health risk

Update: August, 04/2014 - 09:04

HA NOI (VNS) — The Ministry of Health's Department of Preventive Medicine issued a warning to consumers on Thursday not to eat snails, especially raw snails, or use them as medicine.

Hospitals and medical stations in HCM City and the central city of Da Nang recently saw an influx of patients who became sick after eating snails contaminated with the larva of a worm called Angiostrongylus cantonensis, including some fatalities.

Eating raw snails contaminated with the worm can cause encephalitis and meningitis. There is no remedy for the latter, according to the MoH.

Those experiencing unusual symptoms after eating raw snails, shrimp or crab, including high temperature, headache and nausea, should go to a medical station immediately.

Patients in serious condition can experience convulsions and paralysis, talk nonsense and lose their footing and memory. The disease lasts from days to months and can be fatal in some cases.

Viet Nam sees about 70-100 cases of Angiostrongylus cantonensis contamination per year, according to the MoH.

Last month, a nine-year-old boy in HCM City's District 8 was brought to the HCM City Hospital for Tropical Diseases with a serious headache and vomiting after eating snails he caught and grilled.

Two other men living in Go Vap District were also hospitalised after having raw snails with alcohol. One of them died. — VNS