Published Date: 2012-04-10 23:22:24
Subject: PRO/MBDS> Lead poisoning - Viet Nam: Hanoi, traditional medicine
Archive Number: 20120410.0816
LEAD POISONING - VIET NAM: HANOI, TRADITIONAL MEDICINE
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: Mon 9 Apr 2012
Source: Sai Gon Giai Phong English Edition [edited]
Lead content in oriental medicine poisons children
After many children were admitted to hospital from lead poisoning
recently, Bach Mai Hospital in Hanoi took samples for testing which
showed a high lead content in the children.
Bach Mai Hospital reported that since the beginning of this year ,
it had treated more than 130 children who suffered from problems caused
by lead poisoning.
Most of the children hospitalised for treatment had been fed on a kind
of powdered orange coloured traditional medicine, said Dr Pham Due,
chief of the anti-poisoning centre in Bach Mai Hospital.
The medicine, which is packed in paper or plastic bags with no printed
information, is administered to children by simply applying it to the
lining of their mouth or tongue. The lead content in these medicines
varies from 21 to 60 per cent.
Local authorities nationwide have been asked to inspect traditional
medical centres after hundreds of children suffered lead poisoning
caused by a medicine to treat thrush, a yeast infection of the mucus
membrane lining the mouth and tongue.
Local authorities have been asked to issue a ban on peddling oriental
medicines at markets or festivals.
According to medical experts, children who suffer from heavy
lead-poisoning are in high risk of suffering from other complicated
physical and mental problems and can develop symptoms of convulsion,
coma, and anemia.
[Byline: N Quoc]
[A new incident of lead poisoning due to contaminated traditional
medicine was reported in Viet Nam in early 2012. Once again, it raises
concern over the safety of unlicensed traditional medicine, which is
commonly believed by Vietnamese to be safer than modern medicine.
Lead is a toxic metal used in batteries, ammunition, metal products and
devices to shield X-rays. Health effects of lead vary from behavioral
problems and learning disabilities to seizures and death.
Lead is more dangerous to children as their developing brains and
nervous systems are more likely to be damaged by lead. If not detected
early, high lead levels in children can cause damage to the brain and
nervous system, behavior and learning problems, slowed growth, hearing
problems, and headaches.
For more information about lead and lead poisoning, see prior PRO/MBDS
posting "Lead poisoning, fatal - Viet Nam: counterfeit medicine"
For a map of Viet Nam with provinces, see
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:VietnameseProvincesMap.png. For the
interactive HealthMap/ProMED-mail map with direct links to other
outbreaks in Viet Nam and surrounding countries reported on ProMED-mail
and PRO/MBDS, see http://healthmap.org/r/1Euy. - Mod.QCN]