Hong Kong health officials report today they are investigating two additional suspected cases of botulism after receiving injections of botulinum toxin.
The first patient is a 39-year-old woman with good past health, who has developed dry mouth, swallowing difficulties as well as face and neck muscle weakness since May 24. She sought medical attention from a private doctor on June 20 and was advised to seek medical attention from Accident and Emergency Department (AED). She attended Queen Elizabeth Hospital AED on June 21 and was admitted on the same day. She was found to have muscle weakness over the neck during admission. Her clinical diagnosis was suspected iatrogenic botulism and she is currently in stable condition.
According to information provided by the patient, the patient’s friend brought botulinum toxin from the Mainland and performed the injection on her face on May 20 at her home.
“As illegal practice of medicine and possession of Part 1 poison were suspected, this case has been referred to the Police for their necessary action,” a spokesman for the Department of Health said.
The other female patient aged 33 with good past health, has presented with generalized weakness, shortness of breath and swallowing difficulties since June 15. She subsequently sought medical attention twice in Dongguan, Guangdong. She returned to Hong Kong on June 21 and attended the AED of Kwong Wah Hospital where she was admitted on the same day. She was found to have weakness of both shoulders and ptosis during admission. Her clinical diagnosis was suspected iatrogenic botulism and she is currently in stable condition.
According to information provided by the patient, she had received injections to both upper arms for slimming purpose in a beauty shop in Shenzhen, Guangdong on May 15 but she was uncertain whether the injections received were botulinum toxin.
“We have no evidence at this stage that patients of the seven recent cases so far had received injections in the same premises. Epidemiological investigations are ongoing,” the spokesman added.