Hong Kong Med J 2008;14:405-7 | Number 5, October 2008
Grayanotoxin poisoning from Rhododendron simsii in an infant
WT Poon, CH Ho, KL Yip, CK Lai, KL Cheung, Rita YT Sung, Albert YW Chan, Tony WL Mak
Hospital Authority Toxicology Reference Laboratory, Princess Margaret Hospital, Laichikok, Hong Kong
We report a case of severe poisoning in a 57-day-old infant who presented with vomiting, convulsions, and shock after ingesting a bottle of milk containing a decoction of Rhododendron simsii (紅杜鵑). The grandmother collected this toxic plant from a cultivated area, believing it was good for the airways. Grayanotoxin was detected in both the urine and plant specimens. The infant made a good recovery after requiring ventilatory support for 2 days. Rhododendron is a common gardening shrub in Hong Kong. Some Rhododendron species are poisonous and contain grayanotoxin. Intentional or accidental ingestion of toxic plants can be severe or even life-threatening. It is therefore essential that clinicians be familiar with local toxic plant species.
Key words: Flowers; Plant poisoning; Rhododendron; Toxins, biological
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