A 72-year-old man from Son La Province, northern Vietnam passed away after cooking and eating poisonous insects that he had caught outside earlier this week.
Doctors from Son La Province General Hospital announced on Thursday that the man was admitted on Monday after he consumed Mylabris phalerata, a species of blister beetle.
After eating the insect, the patient suffered severe headaches, a sore throat, abdominal pain, nausea, and bloody vomiting.
His family brought him to the hospital in a state of convulsions, respiratory failure, bloody vomiting, and mouth ulcers.
An analysis showed that the patient had been poisoned by the blister beetle.
The patient's tests revealed liver and acute kidney failure. The prognosis of the victim was very poor with a high risk of mortality.
Doctors continually administered hemodialysis, maintained vasomotor function, and treated his liver and kidney failure for two days until his family insisted on bringing him home.
He passed away soon after.
According to Dr. Me Thi Xuan, head of the intensive care unit at Son La Province General Hospital, blister beetle poisoning cases are typically severe.
The majority of patients are exposed to this insect via the gastrointestinal tract, resulting in multiple-organ damage, hypotension, respiratory failure, and a fatality rate of more than 50 percent.
The highly toxic cantharidin in this blister beetle species causes intestinal necrosis and multi-organ failure, resulting in death for the majority of patients.
The toxin secreted by the Mylabris phalerata causes corneal damage and burning if it enters the eye or sticks to the handle.
"If someone has deep skin contact, such as catching this insect with their hands, or even through the respiratory tract, it is enough to produce severe allergies, particularly in people with thin skin and open wounds,” Dr. Xuan warned.
“The eyes can also be stung and burned by the insect's toxic vapors.
“People should never capture and consume the blister beetle.
“If a person comes into touch with the species and is exposed to its poison that causes blistering, scorching skin or eyes, the victim must immediately wash the affected area with clean water, blink continuously, and seek emergency medical treatment.”