A 3-year-old boy in Guangdong, southern China, was hospitalized for a parasitic infection after his mother reportedly made him eat live frogs to cure him from the convulsions that he reportedly suffered.
The boy is currently in the hospital, and doctors caution readers not to try similar traditional treatments that have the potential to be unsafe, according to the Toronto Sun.
A month ago, the young boy's mother told friends that her son had begun having regular seizures, so the friends recommended that she try an old traditional remedy -- feeding her son live frogs, which is said to cure convulsions. The boy's grandfather captured three small frogs, and the family pinned the boy down and forced the wriggling, live amphibians down his throat, sometime near the end of July.
What could go wrong?
"There is a child [in our neighborhood] who has tried this method and it was a success," the woman, known only as Ms. Li, told the Shenzhen Satellite Television. "[My friends] suggested I give it a try too."
It didn't work.
Far from curing the young boy's epilepsy, the family instead found that several large masses had grown on the boy's stomach and scrotum. Doctors in Shenzhen, China, diagnosed him with sparganosis, a parasitic infection caused by the larvae of tapeworms, which he undoubtedly got from eating the amphibians, the Daily Mail reported.
If untreated, sparganosis can cause blindness and even brain damage.
The boy's sparganosis affected his subcutaneous tissue, and nodules formed under his skin. Doctors have removed the growths, although the 3-year-old is not in the clear yet.
"We think these are not all the tapeworms though," said Lei Min, a doctor who treated the boy in Shenzhen Children's Hospital. "There might still be a lot in his body."
Sparganum worms can live up to 20 years in humans.
In November 2014, medical experts discovered that a man from Cambridge, England, had a sparganum worm living in his brain for four years.