PHUKET: Five people, including a 14-year-old girl, were rushed to hospital after eating a curry dished out to over 100 participants at a Phuket Vegetarian Festival Shrine yesterday.
The five affected are believed to have suffered extreme reactions to alocasia included in a curry served at the Tah Reua Shrine in Thalang, doctors told the Phuket Gazette.
Alocasia is in the Araceae family of plants, along with elephant ear and taro.
Four female patients were admitted to Thalang Hospital: Sukon Songyot, 56; Thanatcha Preechakarnjanadit, 51; Aree Lasa, 28; and Supansa Petchoti, 14.
One man, Thanit Kongyai, 50, was also admitted for possible food poisoning.
“All of them ate alocasia that was added to a coconut milk curry served at the shrine,” said Dr Janjira Taesakdatham.
“They all started to feel itching and numbness, and had swollen tongues and had difficulty breathing,” Dr Janjira said.
The alocasia was donated to the shrine by local villagers, she said.
“After I learned that all five patients had eaten the same curry, I called the shrine and told them to throw it away,” Dr Janjira explained.
Staff at the shrine complied immediately.
“They understood it could be dangerous to people,” Dr Janjira said.
The patients were given anti-allergy pills. “They soon recovered and were back home within hours,” Dr Janjira confirmed.
Although Dr Janjira asked shrine devotees to dispose of the curry immediately, she believed the rash of “poisonings” was more likely the result of an allergic reaction.
“This was unlikely caused by unhygienic cooking practices or place. It seems to be more like an allergic reaction to the food,” she said.
“Any people who know they are allergic to certain types of food, please avoid eating them,” she urged.
— Thawit Bilabdullar