Twenty-five people have been hospitalized in southern Vietnam after a shopkeeper accidentally sold a woman rat poison instead of curry for a family feast, a doctor said on Friday.

Pham Thi Hanh, director of the Hoa Thanh District Hospital in Tay Ninh province, said the victims' conditions were improving but they were not out of danger.

”They still have vomiting, headaches and dizziness,” Dr. Hanh said. “I am not sure about their prognosis yet because people who eat rat poison often die after three days.”

Dr. Hanh said Pham Thi Nho, 53, went to a local grocery store Thursday to buy curry to cook chicken for a traditional feast on the anniversary of a relative's death.

The shopkeeper apparently confused the rat poison with curry because of the similarity in packaging. Nho, illiterate, was unable to read the package.

Nho seasoned her chicken with the poison, which has little taste, and fed it to 25 family members.

All 25 were admitted to hospital Thursday night.

The rat poison used was apparently an anti-coagulant, which kills victims by gastric hemorrhage. In both rats and humans, the poison can take several days to cause death.

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