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Suspected poisoning case linked to Chinese medicinal herb

     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health today (January 9) urged members of the public not to collect or consume any unknown plants from parks or the countryside as they may be poisonous.

     The call followed CHP's investigation into a suspected poisoning report involving two members of a family, a 45-year-old man and a 37-year-old woman. They developed vertigo and vomiting about half an hour after taking broth containing a Chinese medicinal herb, Herba Casythae Filiformis, which may contain other toxic plants that they collected while hiking in the hillside of Wu Tip Shan near Wah Ming Estate in Fanling on January 8.  The woman also developed mild upper limb numbness.

     They sought medical treatment at North District Hospital on the same day, but hospitalisation was not required.

     A CHP spokesman said that the patients' clinical presentation is compatible with the poisoning from the consumption of Herba Casythae Filiformis which may contain other toxic plants.

     Tests of broth remnants by the Hospital Authority Toxicology Reference Laboratory are pending.

     The spokesman reminded members of the public, especially hikers, to refrain from collecting plants, including their fruits, roots and stems, in the countryside as many of them may contain lethal natural toxins.

     "If they feel unwell after taking any Chinese medicinal herbs, they should seek medical advice immediately," the spokesman said.

Ends/Monday, January 9, 2012
Issued at HKT 20:18


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