Eating termites, the man infected with the fungus died

HanoiAfter eating roasted termites, the 60-year-old man put both leftovers and live termites in the refrigerator to eat gradually, 5 days later he had abdominal pain, defecation, low blood pressure, respiratory failure…

He was taken to Ninh Binh Provincial General Hospital for emergency at the end of May, in a state of severe shock, a lot of lung spasms, respiratory failure requiring mechanical ventilation and very high-dose vasopressor maintenance, then transferred to Bach Mai Hospital. Roof.

Doctor Nguyen Ba Cuong, Center for Intensive Care, Bach Mai Hospital, said on June 6 that the patient’s lungs could no longer guarantee the ventilation function even with maximum ventilator support. The patient must be on ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) as a last resort with intensive resuscitation measures.

The patient’s bronchoscopy results revealed pseudomembranous plaques in the lower lobes of the lungs on both sides (opaque white inflammatory membrane), suspected fungal infection. A day later, pseudomembranous growth over the entire lining of the airways forming clusters of warts and interwoven like cobwebs completely filling the trachea. Staining results of airway specimens showed filamentous fungi. Histopathological images of pseudomembranous disease also showed that the fungus was concentrated in many clusters. The doctor concluded that the patient was infected with the fungus Aspergillus fumigatus after eating termites.

According to Dr. Cuong, Aspergillus fumigatus is an opportunistic fungus that parasitizes many types of animals, insects and the environment. When the body is immunocompromised (such as severe disease…) fungi have the opportunity to grow and cause disease with very severe symptoms (especially respiratory), the mortality rate is very high.

On June 4, the patient died after 6 days of intensive treatment.

X-ray film of the patient’s lungs on May 30. Image: Hospital provides

Subterranean termites are insects that live in groups, have thin wings, a body length of more than one centimeter, a large belly of vermicelli, a black border around a yellow-brown body. The termite fishing season takes place from March to August of the lunar calendar, most often in April, when the first rains of the season come.

Termites can be processed into many different dishes such as steamed, cooked with bep leaves, bitter eggplant, deep-fried… However, many people suffer from poisoning, even anaphylaxis, dangerous to life.

Doctors recommend not to eat food made from insects and should not be stored with other foods. When there are symptoms of poisoning, it is necessary to seek medical attention promptly.

An image of the fungus Aspegillus fumigatus parasitic on termites.  Photo: Research Gate

An image of the fungus Aspegillus fumigatus parasitic on termites. Image: Research Gate

Thuy An


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