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Korean Journal of Preventive Medicine 1989;22(4): 454-465.
Mass paraquat poisoning in a small island community: case report.
Sung Woo Lee, Tae Wha Chung, Kang Won Choi, Jung Ki Lim, Duk Hyoung Lee
1National Unstitute of Health, Korea.
2College of Medicine, Seoul National University, Korea.
3Ministry of Health and Social Affairs, Korea.
In a small island community with a population of less than 100 residents, nine persons died and five experienced severe illness during the period from November 1986 to May 1988. Their initial symptoms were sore throat and fever. Renal failure and hepatitis developed which one week after the onset. Oral mucosal ulcer developed in some cases. After one week, progressive respiratory failure and dyspnea developed evidently and severe respiratory distress and hypoxia preceded those fatal cases. Chest X-ray findings revealed bilateral diffuse multiple cystic lesion with occasional multiple large emphysematous bullae. Based on these features paraquat poisoning was diagnosed and route of poisoning was investigated. In three sources of drinking water, trace amount of paraquat was detected in November 1988, six months after the incidence of recent fatal case. In November 1988, soybean sauces and soybean pastes from 12 households were found contaminated with high concentration of paraquat, the cause of this mass poisoning has been suggested.
Key words: paraquat poisoning; ingestion; respiratory distress; drinking water contamination
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