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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 78-81

Cases of thallium intoxication in Syria: A diagnostic and a therapeutic challenge

Data and Research Committee, Syrian American Medical Society, Washington, DC 20005, USA

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Mohamed Sekkarie
Syrian American Medical Society, 1012 14th Street Suite 1475, Washington, DC 20005
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ajm.AJM_17_18

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In mid-March 2015, a mother and her teenage daughter and son from Syria presented to a Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) refugee clinic in the Beqaa Valley in Lebanon with the chief complaints of hair loss together with weakness and numbness of their lower extremities. They reported that on March 1, a military foe of their relative had given him several boxes of Middle Eastern cookies which were consumed by over 20 members of their families and neighbors. Soon after the consumption, most members of the households developed symptoms including abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and constipation. Later, many of the affected individuals, including the three who presented to the clinic, had pain and weakness in the extremities, skin lesions, and hair loss. Two subjects died inside Syria of kidney failure. In this report, we describe the diagnostic challenges faced until the arrival to the diagnosis of thallium intoxication and the therapeutic obstacles to getting adequate therapy. We also report the results of a survey sent to all subjects in the affected households and discuss the context of lawlessness that led to this intoxication and perhaps other cases.

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