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Further safety alert on contaminated Rhizoma Atractylodis

     Further to last Friday's recall of the Chinese medicinal herb Rhizoma Atractylodis (batch number 06010108) from customers of a Yuen Long Chinese medicine practitioner (CMP), Kong Chi-wing, because of contamination by tropane alkaloids, the Department of Health (DH) today (May 16) also advised patrons of another CMP in Mong Kok, Chik King-sing, to check whether they have been prescribed Rhizoma Atractylodis as well. If so, they must stop consuming the herb immediately as it came from the same Mainland source.

     On follow-up investigation, DH found that the incriminated wholesaler, Kwong Lung Hong (KLH), supplied the batch of the contaminated herb to two CMPs, Kong Chi-wing and Chik King-sing.

     A spokesman for DH said clinical records indicated that a total of 91 patrons, 77 with Kong and 14 with Chik, were prescribed the same batch of Rhizoma Atractylodis. The 45-year-old index woman patient was Kong's client.  

     "The two CMPs are contacting their clients with DH's support. Thus far, only one other female patient of CMP Kong also reports mild symptoms compatible with anticholinergic poisoning after consuming the contaminated batch of Rhizoma Atractylodis. The woman has not consulted any health-care worker as her symptoms subsided shortly afterward," the spokesman said.

     Meanwhile, chemical analysis by the Government Laboratory on another batch of Rhizoma Atractylodis kept by KLH found no tropane alkaloids. DH's investigation into both the source and the reason for contamination continues.

     The spokesman reminded the public again that any person who has the contaminated Rhizoma Atractylodis in hand should surrender it to DH at 16/F, Two Landmark East, Kwun Tong, Kowloon.

     "For patrons who have used the contaminated batch of the Chinese herb and feel unwell, they should seek advice from their attending health-care workers as soon as possible as anticholinergic poisoning caused by tropane alkaloids can be serious and sometimes fatal," the spokesman emphasised.

Ends/Monday, May 16, 2011
Issued at HKT 19:25


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