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Tags: drugs | foodborne | illness

Drugs Cause Some Foodborne Illnesses

Friday, 04 January 2013 09:55 AM EST

Foods aren’t the only culprits in foodborne illness outbreaks. Disease detectives have also found that drugs — contaminated with bacteria, viruses, parasitic worms, natural toxins, and chemicals — can cause clusters of illnesses typically associated with tainted foods, according to a new report.
As a result, doctors should add medicines to the list of potential causes of foodborne disease outbreaks, according to the new report in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Currently, the World Health Organization does not suggest drugs be considered when tracking the causes of such cases.
The report’s authors noted a 2010 foodborne disease outbreak in Beijing, China, was a result of clonidine — a medication used to treat hypertension and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder — that was intentionally added to lunch ingredients. Eighty travelers who had eaten in a Beijing restaurant developed dizziness, weakness, lethargy, dry mouth, and nausea, among other symptoms, hours after dining.
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They were treated at a local hospital for low blood pressure and low heart rate, then screened for common toxins and drugs. The tests found clonidine in the patients' systems and they were treated for clonidine poisoning. After six days, all of the patients were discharged from the hospital and have had residual symptoms.
Investigators later found that two persons put powdered clonidine into the starch used to make certain dishes — to gain a competitive advantage over a nearby restaurant.

© HealthDay

Disease detectives find drugs can cause clusters of illnesses typically associated with tainted foods.
Friday, 04 January 2013 09:55 AM
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