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CHP investigates case of mad honey poisoning
     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is today (March 30) investigating a case of mad honey poisoning, and reminded the public to buy honey from a reliable source or apiary.

     The male patient, aged 37 with underlying illness, developed dizziness, numbness and shortness of breath around five minutes after consuming honey alone at home on March 25. He attended the Accident and Emergency Department of Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital on the same day and was admitted for treatment. The patient was discharged against medical advice on the next day and has been in a stable condition.

     Grayanotoxin was detected in the honey remnant upon testing by the Hospital Authority Toxicology Reference Laboratory, which matches with the clinical diagnosis of grayanotoxin poisoning.

     Initial enquiries revealed that the honey was brought from Nepal by the patient's friend. Investigations are ongoing.

     "Mad honey poisoning is caused by ingestion of honey containing grayanotoxins derived from plants belonging to the Ericaceae family, including rhododendrons. Grayanotoxins are neurotoxins which can affect nerves and muscles. Symptoms of poisoning include nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, dizziness, weakness, excessive perspiration, hypersalivation and paraesthesia shortly after ingestion. In severe cases, hypotension, bradycardia or shock may occur," a spokesman for the CHP explained.

     Members of the public are reminded to take heed of the following preventive advice:
•  Buy honey from a reliable source or apiary;
•  Discard honey with a bitter or astringent taste - grayanotoxin-containing honey may cause a burning sensation in the throat; and
•  Pay special attention to honey from Nepal and the Black Sea region of Turkey as there have been grayanotoxin poisoning cases connected with honey from these areas.
Ends/Thursday, March 30, 2017
Issued at HKT 18:07
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