Volume 23 No.1, April 2016


CASE REPORT

Acute mercury poisoning from occult ritual use

Radu Ciprian Ţincu1, Cristian Cobilinschi2, Zoie Ghiorghiu1, Radu Alexandru Macovei1,3

1 Anaesthesia and Intensive Care – Toxicology Unit Department, Clinical Emergency Hospital, Bucharest, Romania
2 Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Unit Department, Clinical Emergency Hospital, Bucharest, Romania
3 Carol Davila University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Bucharest, Romania

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.21454/rjaic.7518.231.mep

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Abstract

Mercury exposure is a serious environmental issue that concerns people worldwide. Industrial emissions containing mercury, some pharmaceutical and cosmetic products represent exposure sources. In Romania, as in many other countries, a supplementary cause for mercury exposure is represented by various occult rituals where liquids containing mercury are supposed to be ingested. We present the case of a 28 year old female who was admitted to the hospital for oral paresthesia, nausea, vertigo and sialorrhoea, after ingesting 100 ml diluted liquid mercury during an occult ritual. After the gastrointestinal decontamination, including gastric lavage, activated charcoal and cathartics, the outcome was favourable and 48 hours after admission the patient was discharged. This case report emphasizes the importance of an early digestive decontamination in mercury poisoning and the danger of mercury ingestion during various occult rituals.

Keywords: mercury poisoning, occult rituals, early decontamination