NAN – Two elderly men have died and a third fell sick after eating grilled toad meat, while two children became ill after eating a chicken cooked beside it, in Thung Chang district of Nan Province on Sunday night.
Public health officials of Thung Chang district went to a house in Pradu village on Monday morning to collect the remainder of the toad meat for examination after hearing of the deaths.
Yod Siangkong, an assistant village headman, said a 70-year-old man had grilled a big frog he caught in the rain last night. Â After the toad was done, he invited another man of the same age and a 45-year-old neighbour to join him in enjoying the snack and drinking liquor.
About an hour later the man who found and cooked the toad developed breathing problems, vomited, fell unconscious and died shortly afterward. Â The other elderly man developed the same symptoms. He was rushed to Thung Chang Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
The 45-year-old, who said he ate only a small piece of the toad meat and some of its eggs with the liquor, vomited and suffered from stomachache throughout the night.
Two children, aged 4 and 5, also fell sick after eating chicken which was cooked on the same grill as the toad. It was believed the chicken was contaminated with the poison from the toad’s glands. Â They were admitted to Thung Chang Hospital.
Dr Nipon Pattanakijruang, chief of the Nan public health office, said two poisons – bufotenine and bufotoxin – are usually found in glands under the skin of a toad, and in its eggs, intestines and blood. These poisons cannot be neutralised by heat.
People who eat toad meat or their eggs and become sick should be made to vomit and rushed to hospital as soon as possible, he said.
The poisons normally protect the toads from predators, which learn to leave them alone. Grilled frog is a common snack in parts of Thailand.