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October 2022

Ann Trop Paediatr. 1986 Sep; 6(3): 213-7.

Lead poisoning in infancy--unusual causes in the U.A.E.

Rahman H, Al Khayat A, Menon N.

Six infants, three of them neonates, were diagnosed as having acute lead poisoning; four of them had acute encephalopathy. All had been given an indigenous preparation, 'Bint Al Zahab' (Daughter of Gold), for abdominal colic and early passage of meconium after birth. Chemical analysis of this powder revealed a lead content of 82.5%. The index case had anaemia with punctate basophilia, dense metaphysial lines on X-ray and markedly raised blood lead levels, arousing a strong index of suspicion for the early diagnosis of subsequent cases. Computerized axial tomography (CAT) scan in three cases showed signs of early cerebral cortical atrophy. The picture of cerebral oedema was absent in the four cases of acute lead encephalopathy. The importance of prevention and the ideal management is discussed.

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