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A man hospitalized after eating five live frogs ‘to get stronger’

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A man from eastern China had to be admitted to a hospital to treat a parasitic infection after swallowing five live frogs, believing they would make him stronger.

The 53-year-old Chinese man, surnamed Sun, was taken to the hospital after presenting with persistent fever and weakness, the First Affiliated Hospital of College of Medicine, Zhejiang University reported as quoted by the South China Morning Post.

According to the account of the patient himself, who is a farmer, he trapped the animals near the farmland where he works.

“I caught five frogs in total and they were all quite small, about a thumb’s length each, Sun was quoted as saying.

He said that he ate them alive and whole on the recommendation of some residents of his town. His goal was to improve his physical condition after he suffered a broken clavicle and shoulder blade several years ago, the outlet detailed.

Sun went to three hospitals to find the cause of his mysterious illness. It did not occur to the man to tell the doctors about ingesting the frogs, as he did not believe it could be related to their condition.

When he was finally diagnosed with the disease, he had already had a fever for two weeks and had multiple lesions and fibrosis in his lungs.

Clinical tests revealed that the farmer was infected with Spirometra mansoni, a tapeworm commonly found in frogs. Fortunately, the parasites failed to settle in the eyes or the brain, the two organs of the human body that are most prone to infection. If that had happened, the patient could have symptoms similar to a stroke.

Although it may seem unthinkable to most people, eating live frogs is a popular medicinal practice that is widely adopted in various parts of China, SCMP stressed.

“Every year, we receive patients infected with parasites. A great portion of them fall ill because they eat improperly,” said Qu Tingting, a physician in the hospital’s Infectious Diseases Department.

In Sun’s case, an antiparasitic treatment was enough to prevent complications from his condition and cure him, but this is not always the case.

In early 2021, a 26-year-old man sought medical help because he was unable to speak clearly and due to lack of movement in his limbs. 

A medical investigation revealed that the Chinese from Hunan province was infected with the same parasite from eating “many” frogs during his childhood in hopes of helping heal a bone injury. 

In his case, the parasites reached the brain and caused more significant damage.

Image Credit: iStock

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