China Parents Asked To Stop Feeding Kids Tadpoles

CENPublished: April 3, 201813 views
Published: April 3, 2018

A doctor has had to ask parents to stop feeding their kids tadpoles after a viral video with over 3 million views showed a boy eating the squirming larvae alive.

The clip filmed in China showed the boy being fed a bowl of the tiny swimming animals, which are the larvae of either frogs, toads, newts or salamanders - all of which are common in the country.

There are at least seven in the bowl held by his mum, who says: "They’re little fish. Little fish."

The year-old boy, who is none the wiser, eats every spoonful.

Parents in rural China are thought to believe tadpoles bring health benefits for young children, including an improved immune system and resistance to poison or venom.

Some of the earliest official documents recommending the eating of live larvae for health reasons date back to the Ming dynasty (1368 to 1644 AD), when herbalist Li Shizhen’s "The Compednium of Materia Medica" (1596) suggested the practice.

However, Shenzhen Children’s Hospital paediatrician Pei Honggang has warned otherwise.

Images provided by the medic from Shenzhen City in China’s southern Guangdong Province show one of his young patients who is suffering from an infection of spirometra erinaceieuropaei - a tapeworm infecting domestic animals and humans.

"This is a patient suffering from a tapeworm infection in his abdomen - the type that causes epileptic seizures," he said.

He noted that the patient had also been fed tadpoles, which led to his parasitic infection.

"Parents feeding their kids live tadpoles should watch the video of this tapeworm," Doctor Pei added.

The medic said he was aware of the recommendation appearing in the 1596 herbalism volume, which helped laid the foundations of modern-day Traditional Chinese Medicine practices.

But he added: "The fact is eating live tadpoles leads to parasitic infections. Tapeworm larvae can make its way into the body by eating tadpoles, frogs, snakes - anything raw."

One social media ‘shenjiudeshulin’ asked: "I’m over 30 years old and had been fed tadpoles as a kid. If I haven’t discovered any symptoms of a tapeworm infection, does that mean I’m safe?"

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