Case of suspected atropa belladonna poisoning under CHP investigation

     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is today (March 19) investigating a case of suspected atropa belladonna poisoning affecting a man aged 50, and hence reminded members of the public not to consume the toxic atropa belladonna.

     The patient, who lives in Yuen Long, developed dizziness and vomiting about 24 hours after consuming a dish suspected to contain leaves of fresh atropa belladonna at home on March 17 morning. He then sought medical attention at the Accident and Emergency Department of Pok Oi Hospital yesterday (March 18) and was admitted on the same day for further management. He is now in stable condition.

     Initial enquiries by the CHP revealed that the suspected atropa belladonna involved was a plant grown by the patient. His urine specimen has been collected for laboratory testing and health advice has been given to the patient. Investigations are proceeding.

     "Atropa belladonna contains solanaceous alkaloids which can cause anticholinergic symptoms including dry mouth, tachycardia (abnormally high heart rate) and blurred vision. High dose can lead to confusion, hallucination or seizure. It is not recommended for human consumption, including leaves and fruits. In addition, the root of the plant is generally found to be the most toxic part," a spokesman for the CHP explained.

     "The public should avoid picking atropa belladonna for consumption in order to prevent poisoning. If symptoms of poisoning develop, they should immediately consult medical professionals for advice and prompt treatment," the spokesman urged.

Ends/Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Issued at HKT 20:15