Chinese man who ate five live frogs ‘for strength’ hospitalised with parasitic infection
- He had hoped the folk remedy could help him get stronger after he broke two bones in years past
- Other people in China have got sick after eating frogs hoping to get stronger
A man in eastern China developed a parasitic infection after swallowing five live frogs because he believed they would make him stronger, a local hospital said.
The farmer routinely worked the fields in the Yuhang district of Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang province. Sun told doctors earlier this month that he caught the frogs near the farmland and swallowed them whole.
Sun said he decided to try out the folk remedy because he wanted to improve his fitness after suffering breaking his collar bone and a shoulder blade several years ago.
“I caught five frogs in total and they were all quite small, about a thumb’s length each,” he was quoted as saying.
He had to go to three hospitals to find the cause of his mysterious illness. He did not realise the frogs might be the cause, so he did not tell the doctors about them until the final stop made a detailed inquiry.
By then, he had had a fever for about two weeks, and his lungs had shown multiple lesions and fibrosis, doctors said.
A biopsy later suggested that Sun was infected with Spirometra mansoni, a tapeworm commonly found in frogs.
Luckily, the worms had not invaded his eyes or brain, the two organs in the human body that are most prone to infection. If that had happened, Sun would have experienced symptoms similar to a stroke.
He has now recovered after anti-parasitic treatment, according to the article.
“Every year, we receive patients infected with parasites. A great portion of them fall ill because they eat improperly,” said Qu Tingting, a doctor from the hospital’s infectious disease department, in the WeChat post.
The live frog remedy is a folk medicinal practice that is widely adopted in other parts of China.
A 26-year-old man from Changsha, Hunan province, was found to have been infected by the same parasite in the brain after he ate “plenty of” frogs during his childhood in the hopes of helping to heal a bone injury, the Changsha Evening News reported in January.
He never thought eating the frogs was risky until one day he could not speak clearly and lost the use of his limbs in early 2021, the news report said.
Other people eat frogs’ larvae, also believing they will give them strength.
In April 2018, a video showing a woman making a young girl eat live tadpoles on Weibo triggered a public outcry. The woman said they would help the kid keep healthy while serving her a bowl of swimming tadpoles with a spoon.