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Intensive Care Medicine

, Volume 44, Issue 12, pp 2298–2299 | Cite as

“Familial venoms”: a thallium intoxication cluster

  • Francesco Ratti
  • Alberto Facchini
  • Eduardo Beck
  • Sara Cazzaniga
  • Silvia Francesconi
  • Cecilia Tedesco
  • Alessandro Terrani
  • Gabriella Ciceri
  • Roberto Colombo
  • Maurizio Saini
  • Valeria Margherita Petrolini
  • Giuseppe Citerio
Letter

Dear Editor,

Thallium intoxication is a rare but life-threatening event, especially in Europe, where it is mostly due to intentional poisoning. It is treatable if diagnosed before irreversible organ damage [1]. We aim to describe a series of eight patients with thallotoxicosis. They were purposefully intoxicated by a 27-year-old household member, the nephew of the index case, through contaminated water. Thallium salts are indeed colourless, odourless, tasteless and water-soluble, and symptom onset is delayed, making diagnosis a challenge [2, 3, 4]. Thallium is rapidly absorbed from the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, owing to its physicochemical resemblance to potassium, with extensive deep-compartment distribution. Target cells are within the nervous system, muscles, and heart and later skin and annexes, where it leads to cellular energy failure [1].

Our index case, a 62-year-old woman in good health, showed GI symptoms and peripheral neuropathy. The concurrent presentation of her sister...

Notes

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest

None of the authors have any potential conflict of interest associated with this study.

Supplementary material

134_2018_5403_MOESM1_ESM.docx (400 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 400 kb)

References

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature and ESICM 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Francesco Ratti
    • 1
  • Alberto Facchini
    • 2
  • Eduardo Beck
    • 2
  • Sara Cazzaniga
    • 1
  • Silvia Francesconi
    • 2
  • Cecilia Tedesco
    • 2
  • Alessandro Terrani
    • 2
  • Gabriella Ciceri
    • 2
  • Roberto Colombo
    • 2
  • Maurizio Saini
    • 2
  • Valeria Margherita Petrolini
    • 3
  • Giuseppe Citerio
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Dipartimento di Medicina e ChirurgiaUniversità Milano BicoccaMilanItaly
  2. 2.UOC Anestesia e Rianimazione Desio, ASST- MonzaMonzaItaly
  3. 3.Centro AntiveleniCentro Nazionale di Informazione Tossicologica, IRCCS Fondazione S. MaugeriPaviaItaly

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