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Wed, 24.07.24

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November 2008
Y. Bentur et al

Background: The Israel National Poison Information Center, Rambam Health Care Campus, provides telephone consultations on clinical toxicology as well as drug and teratogen information around the clock. The Center participates in research, teaching and regulatory activities, and also provides laboratory services.

Objectives: To analyze data on the epidemiology of poisonings and poison exposures in Israel.

Methods: We conducted computerized queries and a descriptive analysis of the medical records database of the IPIC[1] during 2007.

Results: Overall, 26,738 poison exposure cases were recorded, a 118.5% increase compared to 1995. Children under 6 years old were involved in 45% of cases; 73% of the calls were made by the public and 25.5% by physicians; 74.4% of exposures were unintentional and 9.2% intentional. Chemicals were involved in 37.9% of cases, pharmaceuticals in 44.2%, bites and stings in 4.3% and poisonous plants in 1.2%. Substances most frequently involved were analgesics, cleaning products and antimicrobials. Clinical severity was moderate/major in 3.5%. Substances most frequently involved in moderate/major exposures were insecticides, drugs of abuse and corrosives. Eight fatalities were recorded – three unintentional exposures (all chemicals) and five intentional (chemicals, medications, drugs of abuse).

Conclusions: The rates of poison exposures and poisonings in Israel have increased significantly, contributing substantially to morbidity and mortality. The IPIC database is a valuable national resource for collecting and monitoring cases of poison exposure and can be used as a real-time surveillance system. It is recommended that reporting to the IPIC become mandatory and that its activities be adequately supported by national resources.

 






[1] IPIC = Israel National Poison Information Center


January 2002
Bianca Raikhlin-Eisenkraft PhD and Yedidia Bentur MD

Background: Ciguatera poisoning is the commonest fish-borne seafood intoxication. It is endemic to warm water tropical areas and is caused by consumption of bottom-dwelling shore reef fish, mostly during spring and summer. The causative agent, ciguatoxin, is a heat-stable ester complex that becomes concentrated in fish feeding on toxic dinoflagellates. The common clinical manifestations are a combination of gastrointestinal and neurologic symptoms. Severe poisoning may be associated with seizures and respiratory paralysis.

Objective: To describe a series of patients who sustained ciguatera poisoning from an uncommon region and an unexpected source.

Patients: Two families complained of a sensation of “electrical currents,” tremors, muscle cramps, nightmares, hallucinations, agitation, anxiety and nausea of varying severity several hours after consuming rabbitfish (“aras”). These symptoms lasted between 12 and 30 hours and resolved completely. The temporal relationship to a summer fish meal, the typical clinical manifestations along with the known feeding pattern of the rabbitfish suggested ciguatera poisoning.

Conclusions: The Eastern Mediterranean basin is an unusual region and the rabbitfish an unusual source for ciguatera poisoning. There are no readily available and reliable means for detecting ciguatoxin in humans. A high index of suspicion is needed for diagnosis and a thorough differential diagnosis is essential to eliminate other poisonings, decompression sickness and encephalitis. Supportive therapy is the mainstay of treatment.

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