Three people hospitalised in the Waikato after eating wild boar may suffer permanent damage as a result.
The family are being treated for suspected food poisoning at Waikato Hospital after consuming the meat, believed to be contaminated by an unknown substance or bacteria.
Shibu Kochummen, wife Subi Babu and mother Alekutty Daniel were found unconscious by emergency staff at their Putaruru house on Friday.
Mr Kochummen collapsed while calling emergency services for medical help.
Family friend Joji Varghese told Newshub poisoning may have occurred after the victims ate contaminated pig.
"Shibu and some of his friends... went hunting for some wild boar," he said.
"They cooked and consumed it on Friday evening for dinner. Within half an hour they began throwing up. Shibu tried ringing the emergency services.
"Someone turned up at their door and found all three adults unconscious."
Mr Varghese says the trio are now in a vegetative state, and doctors are determining the cause of the incident.
"They have been diagnosed with food poisoning after having consumed contaminated wild boar," Mr Varghese said on Facebook.
"The nature of contamination is yet to be determined. Doctors are puzzled by the severity of the condition, as such a potent contaminant has not been reported in NZ since 1983."
He says the effects of the contamination may lead to irreversible damage.
"We do not know what was in that boar. The tests - the toxicology reports - still have not come out," he says.
"Currently all three are conscious but they're not aware of their surroundings. They spasm often, so they're moving involuntarily. There's no response to proper stimulus. Doctors fear it will lead to some form of permanent disability."
He's calling for aid from New Zealanders to help the family, who have two children and face a difficult recovery.
"I have had detailed conversations with the doctors treating them and they fear the worst," he wrote on Facebook. "They reckon it will take up to two months for the poison to be washed out of their body.
"Only then can they start to recover. Even if they recover consciousness, they may suffer permanent damage to their bodies, such as partial or total paralysis or tremors.
"There will be muscle wastage, which will require intensive physiotherapy. All of this could take up to six months or more.
"Their road to recovery is a long and rocky one."
The Waikato DHB says Mr Kochummen and Ms Daniel are stable in a ward, while Ms Babu is in a serious condition in a high dependency unit.
"We are still investigating potential sources for the illness in this case, of which wild pork meat is one," says Waikato DHB medical officer of health Dr Richard Vipond.
"We do not have any evidence to determine any broader contaminated game meat or that there is a risk to public health."
A detailed toxicology report is expected on Friday.