Friday , December 9 2022

Boy dies, four in coma after consuming mold-contaminated food


A nine-year-old boy died and six others were hospitalized in Hanoi due to food poisoning after consuming a homemade corn cake.

Doctors of the Bach Mai Hospita on Wednesday said a family in Meo Vac District of northern Vietnam’s Ha Giang Province made a corn cake dish for four family members and three neighbors to eat. The cakes were made on June 16, using the leftover batch made from June 9.

On June 17, the nine-year-old boy began to have symptoms like dizziness, stomachache and nausea before dying at home. Six others later had similar symptoms and were transferred to the Ha Giang General Hospital.

After their diagnoses, four people, including three adults and a 20-month-old infant were transferred to the Bach Mai Hospital for further treatment.

Nguyen Trung Nguyen, director of the Poison Control Center of the Bach Mai Hospital, said doctors found ochratoxins inside the corn cakes, which might explain the patients’ conditions. Ochratoxins are a group of mycotoxins produced by certain types of fungus, and are known to occur in food such as cereals, coffee or dried fruits.

The patients all have severe liver damage and hepatic encephalopathy, he said, adding that their prospects aren’t good. They are currently under blood filtration and intensive care.

The corn cakes the patients have are a type of food made during certain festivals among the ethnic Mong people in Ha Giang. They are made using powder grinded from corn.

Freshly made corn powder is safe, but powder that has been left outside for too long might be contaminated and cause food poisoning.

“The family used leftover corn batch to make the cakes, so they might have been contaminated with molds, leading to food poisoning,” Nguyen said.

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