Have you ever heard of Tiết Canh, also known as Raw Blood Soup (or, in some cases, raw blood pudding)? This is a traditional soup eaten in Vietnam with a major health risk associated with it: Parasites. After narrowly escaping permanent disability and potentially even death, this Vietnamese woman learned this the hard way.
What is Raw Blood Soup?
Recently, news reports in Vietnam published a story about a woman who had a rather scary run-in with a horrible parasitic infection. The woman in the story consumed a soup called ‘Tiet canh’, a local delicacy in Vietnam. This soup is traditionally made with raw blood and cooked meat. However, the consumption of raw blood in the soup poses significant dangers due to the presence of parasites. (1)
To make ‘Tiet canh’, the process typically involves collecting fresh animal blood, often from ducks or pigs. The blood is then mixed with various ingredients, such as fish sauce, herbs, and spices. It is important to note that the dish is often served when the blood is still raw and has not been thoroughly cooked. The potential dangers arise from the consumption of raw blood, which can be contaminated with parasites such as parasitic worms.
Read: Doctors pull 1.5-inch worm from woman’s tonsils after she ate sashimi
The Woman’s Story
In this woman’s case, she developed severe headaches, fell multiple times, and experienced various health issues. Upon visiting the hospital, the doctors first thought that perhaps she was having a stroke. Quickly, however, they realized that the woman had parasitic worms swarming under her skin, as well as in her arms, legs, and even burrowing into her brain. They discovered that she had contracted this parasite from eating the raw blood soup, which she had prepared herself.
“I thought if I make the pudding myself, it would be clean and I would rest assured knowing there would be no disease involved.” she explained.
The doctor who treated her, Dr. Tran Hoy Tho, confirmed that the infection was from the soup. They explained that this woman was incredibly lucky, as many other people don’t come out so unscathed as she did. For most, this kind of infection results in permanent disability, such as damaged vision, or even death.
“Many people even believe they suffer from seizures, strokes and other mental health conditions, so they get treated at psychiatric hospitals for years,” the doctor explained. “By the time they go to Dang Van Ngu Hospital, their conditions have already progressed and the parasites have already harmed their brain, forcing them to live with lifelong conditions like reduced eyesight.”
How To Avoid Parasitic Infections
The story emphasizes the dangers associated with consuming raw blood and the potential risks of parasitic infections. These parasites can not only cause severe symptoms but also pose long-term health consequences if not promptly treated. To avoid parasitic infections, it is essential to take certain precautions (2):
- Cook meat thoroughly: Ensure that all meat is properly cooked, particularly animal blood. Raw or undercooked meat can contain parasites, and thorough cooking can help eliminate them.
- Proper sanitation: Maintain good hygiene practices while handling and preparing food by washing hands, utensils, and surfaces properly.
- Safe food storage: Store food in appropriate conditions and temperatures to prevent the growth and spread of parasites.
- Avoiding raw or undercooked foods: Be cautious when consuming dishes that contain raw or partially cooked ingredients, such as raw blood puddings or sushi. Cook these foods thoroughly to minimize the risk of parasitic infections.
- Safe sourcing of ingredients: Purchase meat and other ingredients from reputable sources, ensuring that they meet food safety standards and guidelines.
- Drinking safe water: Make sure the water you consume is safe, as contaminated water sources can also harbor parasites. Use filtered or boiled water when necessary.
- Personal and environmental hygiene: Maintain a clean living environment, including proper waste disposal and hygiene practices for personal cleanliness and sanitation.
By following these preventive measures, individuals can reduce the risk of parasitic infections and maintain their overall health and well-being.
Keep Reading: 7 Signs Of Intestinal Parasites Living Inside Your Body
- “Parasitic worms found swarming underneath woman’s skin and buried in her brain.” Mirror. Sophie Goodall. April 12, 2023.
- “Parasites.” Cleveland Clinic