Australian couple say pad Thai in Phuket made them ‘zombies’

Australian couple say pad Thai in Phuket made them ‘zombies’

(Bangkok Post file photo)
(Bangkok Post file photo)

A couple have made headlines in their native Australia after claiming that a meal of pad Thai they ate at a Phuket food court during a family holiday in 2017 ruined their lives and their business for more than a year.

Stacey Barnes, 32, and Ryan Prigg, 39, said they became feverish after the meal and caught the next flight out of the country to return to their home in Perth, where their symptoms worsened.

"Some days, I would suddenly become extremely bloated after eating something small, my stomach would just be enormous,” Ms Barnes told “We developed cold sores all over our face and ulcers all through our mouths.

“I thought to myself, 'If I have to live with this, it's not worth living at all'...I had no memory, I was really foggy…like a zombie.” 

The couple told media they struggled to look after their two children and almost lost their lucrative health and lifestyle business. 

The couple said they eventually tested positive for the tiny parasite Dientamoeba fragilis in their intestines, and only recovered after blood transfusions and courses of antibiotics, probiotics and vitamin supplements.

A doctor interviewed on 7 News Perth, however, said that the parasite was present in 25% of healthy adults, and there was no scientific consensus that it caused disease. The news reports did not appear to offer any conclusive evidence that the symptoms arose from the parasite or that the couple ingested it during their visit to the Phuket food court.

The couple, however, were convinced that the typical Thai meal eaten by millions was to blame. “I won’t go back – ever!” said Mr Prigg.

“We won’t go back to Asian countries again," added Ms Barnes, “but I want people to be aware that these things can and do happen."

The couple did not immediately respond to a message from the Bangkok Post.

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