[An outbreak of Heliotrope food poisoning, Tadjikistan, November 1992-March 1993].

Auteurs: Chauvin P Dillon JC Moren A
Référence de l'article: Sante (Montrouge, France) ; 4(4); 263-8. doi: . Epub 1994 11 21


The seeds and roots of Heliotropium lasocarpium, contain a pyrrolizidine alkaloid which causes toxic liver injury and veno-occlusive disease (VOD), characterised by an occlusive lesion of the centrolobular veins of the liver, when consumed by humans. The Farkhar region of Southern Tadjikistan, was blockaded from May to November 1992. This led to a famine and a delay of two months in the wheat harvest. Heliotropium lasocarpium had time to grow in the fields and their seeds were therefore collected with the wheat. The contaminated wheat was distributed to the population, who milled it and made bread. The first case of liver toxicity was six weeks after the first consumption of the contaminated bread. By March 1993, 3,906 cases had been recorded (attack rate = 4%). The attack rate were 0.4%, 5.4%, 4.0%, 2.8% and 1.5% for the less than 1 year, 1-14 years, 15-30 years, 31-50 years and over 50 years age groups respectively. The overall case fatality ratio (CFR) was 1.3% and increased with age from 0 to 5.9% in the same age groups. Two of the ten collective farms represented 83.3% of the cases attack rate of 16.9% and 23.6%. Four stages of illness were defined. Stage I corresponds to abdominal pain, nausea or vomiting, and asthenia. All stage I patients (55.5%) recovered rapidly. Stage II is an association of Stage I and hepatomegalia (29.9%). Stage III includes ascites in addition to these symptoms (13.7%) and stage IV alteration of consciousness (0.9%). The last case was reported on March 4th 1993.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)