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Open Access Highly Accessed Case report

Acute mercury poisoning: a case report

Sezgin Sarikaya1, Ozgur Karcioglu2, Didem Ay1, Aslı Cetin1, Can Aktas1 and Mustafa Serinken3*

Author Affiliations

1 Dept. of Emergency Medicine, Yeditepe Univ, School of Medicine, Istanbul, Turkey

2 Dept. of Emergency Medicine, Acibadem Univ, School of Medicine, Istanbul, Turkey

3 Dept. of Emergency Medicine, Pamukkale University, School of Medicine, Denizli, Turkey

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BMC Emergency Medicine 2010, 10:7  doi:10.1186/1471-227X-10-7

Published: 19 March 2010

Abstract

Background

Mercury poisoning can occur as a result of occupational hazard or suicide attempt. This article presents a 36-year-old case admitted to emergency department (ED) due to exposure to metallic mercury.

Case Presentatıon

A 36-year-old woman presented to the ED with a three-day history of abdominal pain, diarrhea and fever. One week ago her daughter had brought mercury in the liquid form from the school. She had put it on the heating stove. One day later, her 14-month old sister baby got fever and died before admission to the hospital. Her blood pressure was 134/87 mmHg; temperature, 40.2°C; heart rate 105 bpm and regular; respiration, 18 bpm; O2 saturation, 96%. Nothing was remarkable on examination and routine laboratory tests. As serine or urinary mercury levels could not be tested in the city, symptomatic chelation treatment with N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) was instituted with regard to presumptive diagnosis and history. At the 7th day of admission she was discharged without any sequelae or complaint. At the discharge day blood was drawn and sent for mercury levels which turned out to be 30 μg/dL (normal range: 0 - 10 μg/dL).

Conclusion

Public education on poisoning and the potential hazards of mercury are of vital importance for community health.