A three-year-old boy from Southern China is now in hospital after he was forced by his mother to eat live frogs to cure his ‘epilepsy.’
According to reports, the woman, known only as Ms Li, had been worried when her son started to show signs of what she thought was epilepsy. Ms Li’s friends subsequently advised her to try an old folk medicine – swallowing live frogs.
Ms Li said in an interview with Shenzhen Satellite Television: ‘There is a child in our neighbourhood who has tried this method and it was a success. My friends suggested I give it a try too, so we went to catch live frogs to feed my son.’
After capturing three live frogs, the entire family, living in Maoming in the province of Guangdong, held the little boy down and forced him to swallow them – still wriggling. The amphibians did not cure the boy, instead, several abnormal masses began growing on his body.
The child was sent to hospital, where doctors removed the growths from his stomach and scrotum. He was diagnosed with sparganosis, a parasitic infection caused by the larvae of tapeworms brought on by the frog-eating.
Untreated sparganosis can cause blindness and even brain damage.
‘We think these are not all the tapeworms though. There might still be a lot in his body,’ said Lei Min, a doctor from Shenzhen Children’s Hospital, stating they will give the child further treatment.
Reports from China have not revealed whether or not the boy actually suffered from epilepsy in the first place.
According to scholars at Stanford University, humans are secondary intermediate hosts for sparganosis. They can catch the disease from drinking water that contains a contaminated creature, eating a raw infected frog, snake or small mammal or using poultices made from the flesh of infected animals.
Symptoms of sparganosis depend upon the location of the sparganum within the body. In the boy’s case, the sparganosis affected his subcutaneous tissue, causing nodules to form under his skin. The main form of treatment of sparganosis is surgical removal of the larva upon visual diagnosis. The sparganum worm can live up to 20 years in a human.
Source: Daily Mail