An Italian man, who was not fully vaccinated for cholera, tried to dodge the ill-effects of the deadly intestinal disease by inventing a fake arm in the belief it would help him avoid symptoms, health authorities said Monday.
The 35-year-old managed to avoid symptoms until he became just barely conscious after receiving an injection of chlorine dioxide gas in a separate incident which left him needing several weeks of treatment for dysentery.
“It was made on instructions on the internet in Austria,” Veneto health authorities said in a statement.
The man decided to get the fake appendage made because he did not fully comply with the list of vaccinations required before traveling to Morocco.
He slipped into unconsciousness after undergoing the gas injection on 14 May, the same day he bought the fake arm made of silicone rubber.
Doctors found the limbs in his stomach after detecting the presence of trace amounts of bacteria.
Italian authorities revealed that the fake arms would cost €650 ($790).
“We are convinced that this was the main reason he suffered so much harm from the chlorine [gas],” they said.
He underwent a tetanus vaccination in addition to the cholera vaccinations during his absence from Italy.
The carbapenem antibiotic was, however, only administered to those in and near areas close to the canal, which is just outside the city of Trieste.
The Canal, as it is known, has regularly been flooded by uncontrolled flooding during the spring, causing destruction to homes and businesses.
No details of the man’s name were revealed but the health authorities said that the suspect was being examined in hospital.
Authorities warned other Moroccans who remain without vaccinations, particularly to the water supply.
The cholera virus, which causes diarrhoea, can also cause a life-threatening blood infection in adults.