Three villages in Thailand's north-eastern province of Khon Kaen has the world's highest incidence of cholangiocarcinoma - a rare cancer of the bile ducts, media reports said on Monday.
According to a recent Khon Kaen University study, the rate of cholangiocarcinoma in the three villages of Phai, Mancha Khiri and Channaburi - situated in the Shi River basin of Khon Kaen, 380 km north-east of Bangkok - is 118 people per 100,000, the highest in the world.
Khon Kaen University professor Banjob Sripha said the high incidence of the rare cancer had earned the district the distinction of being "the world's cholangiocarcinoma basin," said The Nation newspaper.
Cholangiocarcinoma is caused by trematodes - parasitical flatworms that live in the liver.
Some six million people in Thailand, or 9.4 percent of the population, suffer from trematodes as a result of eating uncooked meat and fish, a popular dish especially in north-eastern Thailand.
Of the six million Thais with trematodes some 97 percent hail from the North-east, The Nation reported.
"Larp," or uncooked pork, beef or fish that is eaten with a hot sauce and sticky rice, is unique to north-eastern cuisine although it is also popular in parts of northern Thailand.