A Chinese woman who ate five live frogs in the hope it would relieve the rheumatism in her legs instead suffered years of pain and nurtured a massive tapeworm in one of her breasts, according to a local news website report.
The horror story began in 2013, when the woman, from Jiaqing in eastern China’s Zhejiang province, was advised by an advocate of folk medicine that consuming uncooked amphibians worked as an analgesic for aching limbs, Kankanews.com reported on Monday.
The prescription, however, proved specious, and instead of getting relief, the woman, who was not named, found herself in more discomfort than before.
In the years that followed she experienced all manner of aches and pains in her stomach, breasts and eyes, although she had no idea what caused them, the report said.
It was only when she noticed a lump in her right breast and went to see her doctor about it that the true cause of her pain, quite literally, came out.
After examining the growth, the doctor told the woman she would have to undergo surgery to have it removed.
The report did not say what the doctor thought might have caused the lump, but the surgeon got a surprise when he cut it out and found it was home to a 13cm (five-inch) tapeworm.
The parasite turned out to be a Sparganum mansoni, which are often found in the intestines of cats and dogs, but rarely in humans.
After hearing the woman’s story the doctor concluded that the tapeworm had most likely grown from larvae that had been inside the frogs she had eaten five years earlier.
While most people would probably advise against eating live amphibians, the Chinese woman was not the first person in the world to discover the perils of eating uncooked food.
In January, a man from California in the United States needed medical help to remove a 1.6-metre tapeworm that was making a bid for freedom via his anus.
He was quoted as saying that he had a passion for raw fish, especially salmon sashimi, and ate it almost every day.