Three patients who were struck down with suspected botulism poisoning are out of hospital and recovering at home.
Shibu Kochummen, his wife Subi Babu and his 62-year-old mother Alekutty Daniel spent three weeks paralysed and unconscious before opening their eyes just over a week ago.
The trio were thought to have contracted the illness after eating a wild boar curry last month at their Putāruru home.
Babu, 33, and Daniel collapsed within minutes of eating the meal, prompting Kochummen to call an ambulance.
The latter collapsed whilst midway through the call. The three adults were rushed to hospital and Babu and Kochummen's two daughters - aged 7 and 1 - were cared for by family members while they were in intensive care.
Speaking to the Herald today, family friend Joji Varghese said he was happy they were recovering. He hoped there wouldn't be any lasting impact from the illness.
"The fact that they've all come through is pleasing, especially pleasing as there was a fear that it would leave a lasting result."
Varghese said despite the good news, it would be a while before his friends were in peak physical form. They were still experiencing aches and pains and were spending a lot of time on the couch with very little energy.
"The rehab process will continue through the Tokoroa DHB, that will involve physical therapy. There were a few concerns around blank spots in their memories, but that is improving day by day."
Varghese said if they did have botulism then the loss of memory was a typical symptom. However, doctors had still been unable to confirm this was what they had.
"Until the results come back from Queensland there will be no medical confirmation that this is what the family had," Varghese said
"The lab results are crucial, they're key. If the test comes back negative then there's a big question mark over what it is."
The group had a big cleanup of the house before they moved back in and made an unusual discovery when it came to the food in the fridge.
While all of the food in the fridge had gone off, the meat that the trio had eaten was in "pristine" condition. Varghese said this seemed extremely unusual seeing as it was around 35 days old.
"We're toying with the idea of getting it independently tested, to get to the bottom of that", Varghese said.
While the diagnosis of botulism poisoning was yet to be confirmed, it is assumed the potentially fatal toxin was the cause of the family's illness because they responded to treatment for the disease.
A spokeswoman from Waikato District Health Board said the hospital was still waiting for test results to come back from Queensland.
"I don't have a timeframe on that", she said.
National Poisons Centre director and medical toxicologist Dr Adam Pomerleau said the sudden onset of the illness in all three adults suggested a toxin rather than an infection, although he had not seen the patients' clinical details.
Botulism poisoning is one possible cause of the reported symptoms. The rare and potentially fatal illness is caused by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum.
Symptoms often included vomiting, muscle weakness and paralysis.
Recovery would take weeks or months, he said, and there could be residual symptoms.