A fifth person died in Kratie province on Tuesday after eating the meat of a dog that died from poisoning, while a further eight people remain in the hospital after consuming the toxic flesh, police said.
The pet dog died in Snuol district’s Snuol commune under mysterious circumstances last week and its carcass was purchased for 35,000 riel, or about $8.75, by 76-year-old Chea Rath, who barbecued it and served it to friends at a party on Sunday.
The cook and two others died after eating the meat, while a fourth person died after consuming the leftovers at a funeral for Chea Rath. Commune police chief Thai Lithon said the fifth victim also died after eating the meat at the funeral.
“Him Sareyboth, 41, who had come to Chea Rath’s funeral and ate the dog meat, died at 4 a.m. at his farm because he did not go to the hospital,” Mr. Lithon said. “We still do not know what caused the dog’s death but we think [the human deaths] were caused by the dog meat.”
“Eight people are still getting treatment at the hospital, while 26 people have gone back home after recovering from the poison,” he added.
Chheang Em, 37, the daughter of 67-year-old Lin Chheang, one of the deceased, said she had assumed her father was drunk when he returned from the party on Sunday.
“My father ate the meat and drank with Chea Rath’s family. He got a high fever and was sent to the district health center,” Ms. Em said. “Before he died, he said, ‘Please, children, my chest is very hot’ and then he stopped breathing. We were all crying.”
District police chief Chan Sokim said authorities were still attempting to identify the source of the poison and the individual who gave it to the dog at the center of the case.
“We collected evidence and handed it to the provincial health department, and we have not yet received the results,” he said.