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CHP investigates probable case of botulism
     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) is today (September 27) investigating a probable case of botulism after receiving injections of botulinum toxin locally, and again reminded the public that botulinum toxin injections should only be prescribed and performed by registered doctors.

     The female patient, aged 21 with good past health, has presented with dizziness, ptosis, limb weakness and breathing difficulty since September 22. She attended the Accident and Emergency Department of Tin Shui Wai Hospital yesterday (September 26) due to increased dizziness and swallowing difficulties. She was referred to Pok Oi Hospital and admitted today. She is in stable condition. The clinical diagnosis was suspected iatrogenic botulism.

     According to the information provided by the patient, she received botulinum toxin injections in the calves in a private premises in Tai Po on September 15. Investigations are ongoing.

     "Botulinum toxin injections should only be performed by a locally registered doctor. Customers should look for his or her full name against the list of registered doctors of the Medical Council of Hong Kong as well as his or her professional qualifications and relevant experience," a spokesman for the DH said.

     Due to the weakening of associated muscles and the fact that botulinum toxin may spread and affect other areas beyond the injection site, affected patients may have drooping of the eyelids, double vision or blurred vision, problems with chewing, hoarseness or even difficulties in swallowing, speaking or breathing, which may happen hours, days or weeks after the injection.

     The DH urged the public to observe the health advice below before receiving botulinum toxin injections:
  • Injections should only be performed by locally registered doctors;
  • Understand the procedure, potential risks and complications before receiving injections. Consult a doctor for an informed decision;
  • Do not receive an injection in the case of a history of allergy to botulinum toxin, or infection or inflammation on the injection site;
  • Request the full name of the doctor in writing if referred by a beauty service provider for the procedure, as well as the professional qualifications and relevant experience; and
  • If symptoms develop, such as fever or feeling unwell, seek medical attention immediately.

     ​The public may visit the DH's webpage on the differentiation between medical procedures and beauty services, the Drug Database of the Drug Office and the CHP's botulism page for more information.​
Ends/Wednesday, September 27, 2023
Issued at HKT 19:30
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