21 May 2024

Thailand’s Disease Control Department is investigation a claim by an Australian couple that they went through “two years of hell” after eating a plate of Pad Thai, a popular Thai-style fried noodle, while vacationing in Thailand in 2017.

According to thethaiger.com on Monday, Stacey Barnes and Ryan Prigg from Perth, along with their two children, visited Thailand in 2017. Once back in Perth they both began to feel unwell, drained of energy and struggling even to get out of bed.

Following extensive tests, doctors found that they were hosting dientamoeba fragilis, a single celled parasite, which they say was in a Pad Thai dish they had eaten at a food court in Thailand.

Disease Control Department director-general, Dr. Suwannachai Wattanaying- charoenchai, said on Tuesday that Thailand has effective monitoring systems to ensure food safety through the Food and Drug Administration Office, the Health Department, the Medical Science Department, the Agriculture Ministry and private networks dedicated to food safety.

Commenting on dientamoeba fragilis, he explained that it is not harmful to people who are in good health and ruled out the possibility that the parasite came from the Pad Thai because it would have been fried.

Ryan, speaking on a Channel 7 TV special, vowed never to return to Thailand, saying the experience had put them through the worst two years of their lives.

Dientamoeba fragilis is a species of single-celled protozoa found in the digestive tract of some humans, pigs and gorillas. It causes gastrointestinal upset in some people, but not in others. It is a common cause of diarrhea, chronic diarrhea and fatigue.