Vietnamese Lunar New Year festivities in February, during which many pigs were slaughtered and served, sometimes raw, sent at least 12 people to hospital, with swine bacteria killing four.
Two died in hospitals and two others died at home in central Vietnam.
A source from the National Hospital of Tropical Diseases in Hanoi last week said they received 16 people infected with the Streptococcus suis bacteria, a pork-based pathogen, since the beginning of this year, including nine during the ten days of the festival that began on February 10.
The patients were from Hanoi and the nearby provinces of Nam Dinh, Ninh Binh and Thai Binh, and had direct contact with pork through butchering, selling pork, or eating "tiet canh," a type of pudding made with raw pig’s blood.
Two men from Nam Dinh died of severe blood poisoning, two others are also struggling with it, while the rest have developed meningitis, the source said.
Dr. Nguyen Trung Cap from the hospital’s Emergency Department said the dead patients were brought to the hospital after having the blood dish, and the condition of both became critical quickly with declining liver, kidney and lung functions.
“Half the patients said they ate 'tiet canh,'” Cap said.
The bacteria also killed two butchers in the central province of Quang Nam during the holiday, Tien Phong reported February 22.
Pham Thi Nguyet, 45, died on February 8, four days after she slaughtered five pigs belonging to a local animal health official.
Nguyen Nguyen, 40, died on February 10, just one day after the same official transferred to him the pigs that Nguyet had failed to slaughter.