Three members of the same family may be paralysed for life after they contracted severe food poisoning from wild boar meat.
The trio from Putaruru, New Zealand, are being treated by staff at a hospital in Waikato, who say they could be left in the condition permanently.
Shibu Kochummen, his wife Subi Babu and his mother Alekutty Daniel are believed to have developed the condition after eating a dish containing meat from a wild boar that was shot by Kochummen on a hunting trip last week.
They discovered the symptoms within 30 minutes of eating the meal and subsequently began throwing up in 15-minute intervals. Kochummen called an emergency hotline to request medical help but collapsed mid-conversation. Currently they are drifting in and out of consciousness and can only stay awake for a short period of time.
Doctors say it could take two months for the toxins to be flushed out of their body, and it is unknown if they can fully recover.
The couple's children who did not eat the dish were not affected, prompting health officials to suspect the wild boar meat. Tests are now being conducted to confirm the cause.
Medical Officer of Health Dr Richard Vipond said the situation was extremely rare:
"We do not have any evidence to determine any broader contaminated game meat, or that there is a risk to public health, however I would encourage anyone who is hunting or handling game meat to follow guidelines as set out by the Ministry for Primary Industries."
Speaking with the New Zealand Herald, family friend Joji Varghese said witnessing the family in such a terrible condition was extremely upsetting.
"These were extremely active, full of life people and all of a sudden, nothing"
"When I visit him I imagine what's going through his head and I'm telling him to not worry about it. 'We've got the children and we're talking with your family and they'll be here shortly'."
A fundraising appeal has been issued to the Indian community in Auckland and the surrounding area. Supporters are hoping to raise funds to pay the family's bills and additional healthcare costs.
The couple's one-year-old and seven-year-old children are being looked after by friends while extended family in India wait for the them to be released from hospital.
"We remain deeply concerned," said Indian High Comissioner Kohli. "It's a really unfortunate incident."