Laboratories in the United States and Japan have been enlisted to help establish the cause of seven deaths in the Philippines last month being attributed to eating horse meat.
Interaksyon.com, the online portal of TV5 News, reports that it is hoped the overseas input will help establish the precise cause of the deaths, which occurred last month in Senator Ninoy Aquino town in Sultan Kudarat province.
The Department of Health in Region 12 has sent samples from the victims to the US Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia, and to another laboratory in Japan for examination and analysis.
The department’s Region 12 director, Dr Teogenes Baluma, said: “We don’t have definitive findings yet as to the actual cause of their deaths but we’re hoping that these laboratory examinations can provide us some answers.”
The victims died from what were described as severe poisoning symptoms several days after eating the entrails and meat of three horses that had died from unknown causes.
Other people became ill but recovered.
The department’s own investigation pointed to brain inflammation triggering the deaths, with a viral origin suspected.