Eight people in Kampong Thom province’s Sandan district, including an Environment Ministry ranger, have died after eating allegedly illegally poached wild pork meat, while over a dozen more were hospitalised, officials said yesterday.
Health Ministry spokesman Ly Sovann said the Trichinella spiralis parasite, which is transmitted by eating raw or undercooked meat and causes trichinosis, killed eight people, and left 20 others ill, 12 of whom are currently at Preah Ket Mealea Hospital in Phnom Penh.
According to the provincial Health Department director, Srey Sin, those affected – in Meanrith and Sandan communes – were not eating the meat together, and it is unclear whether the meat came from the same pig. The first deaths were reported on September 7, while the last death occurred on September 21.
Sin said his department works on educating people in food hygiene and water sanitation. “We do not have the laboratory to do tests, so the Ministry of Health sent a team,” he said.
Nuon Seila, deputy district police chief, confirmed an Environment Ministry official was among the dead. “Those pigs are wild pigs; it is prohibited” to kill and eat them, he said.
Chea Sam Arng, director of the Environment Ministry’s General Administration Department of Natural Conservation and Protection, said consequences for killing and eating the pigs depend on the protection status of the species.
“We are not sure if the wild pig he ate is a prohibited one because there are types of wild pigs that the villagers can raise,” he said.