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 La prensa: Botulism outbreak in Texas, USA, linked to black tar heroin inyection

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Folleto para usuarios de drogas inyectables (Foto: Sertox )

Authorities: Tainted heroin believed to cause infection of three El Pasoans.borderhealth.org. Sep 08, 2011.  U.S. health authorities are investigating how three patients hospitalized in El Paso with suspected wound botulism came into contact with the source of the infection.Authorities said all three patients are heroin users and suspect that the wound botulism might have come from contaminated heroin. The New Mexico Department of Health is working with the Texas Department of State Health Services and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the investigation, said Aimee Barabe, spokeswoman for the New Mexico department.Botulism is a rare and potentially fatal illness caused by a nerve toxin that can lead to paralysis. Wound botulism is caused by the toxin produced from a wound infected with clostridium botulinum bacteria.

"All health-care providers should maintain a high index of suspicion for botulism in any patient presenting with the signs and symptoms suggestive of botulism, particularly if they have a history of injection drug use," stated Dr. Catherine D. Torres, The New Mexico secretary of health.

Richard Perkins, an administrator at Aliviane in El Paso, a major drug rehabilitation center, said Aliviane has seen wound botulism in some of its clients recently and in the past.

"These cases usually involve the use of unclean needles and unclean environments," Perkins said. "What seems to be new here is that the heroin itself is suspected of being the source of the contamination."

U.S. law enforcement officials have confiscated heroin at points along the Texas-New Mexico-Mexico border, and Juárez police have arrested street pushers who distribute small amounts of heroin in downtown Juárez.
Signs and symptoms of botulism include double or blurred vision, drooping eyelids, slurred speech, difficulty swallowing, dry mouth, muscle weakness, paralysis, difficulty breathing and shortness of breath.

If left untreated, the symptoms may progress to paralysis of the respiratory muscles, arms, legs and trunk and even to death.

People who inject drugs should be aware of the signs and symptoms associated with wound botulism and seek immediate medical attention if they begin to exhibit symptoms.

Health authorities are asking all health-care providers to report any suspected cases to their health departments so that the antitoxin can be provided immediately.

Diana Washington Valdez may be reached at dvaldez@elpasotimes.com; 546-6140.


Read also: 4th botulism case under investigation. By Diana Washington Valdez / El Paso Times
Posted: 09/07/2011.
›› Previous: Tainted heroin believed to cause infection of three El Pasoans

The city of El Paso Department of Public Health is investigating a fourth suspected case of wound botulism, bringing the total number of patients so far to four, said Armando Saldivar, a spokesman for the department.

The recent case involves an injection drug-user with a history of black tar heroin use, Saldivar said Tuesday.

Last week, health officials reported that three people with wound botulism were hospitalized in El Paso. They also were heroin users.

Health authorities suspect that the source of the botulism is a tainted batch of black tar heroin from Mexico.

Enviado por jcp el 09 septiembre 2011 00:00:00 (1395 Lecturas)






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