By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

The Hong Kong Centre for Health Protection (CHP) reported investigating a probable case of botulism after receiving injections of botulinum toxin locally.

Hong Kong/CIA

The female patient, aged 24 with good past health, has presented with chest discomfort, shortness of breath, generalized weakness and palpitation since September 3. She attended the Accident and Emergency Department of Yan Chai Hospital on September 3 and was admitted on the same day. She remains in a stable condition and was discharged on September 6. The clinical diagnosis was suspected iatrogenic botulism.

According to the information provided by the patient, she received botulinum toxin injections over the calves in a beauty premises in Mong Kok on September 3. Investigations are ongoing.

“When botulinum toxin is used for cosmetic purposes, its cosmetic effects after injections are temporary and will gradually disappear. If referred to a doctor for the procedure, customers should look for his or her full name against the list of registered doctors of the Medical Council of Hong Kong as well as his or her professional qualifications and relevant experience.” a spokesman for the Department of Health (DOH) said.

Due to the weakening of associated muscles and the fact that botulinum toxin may spread and affect other areas beyond the injection site, affected patients may have drooping of the eyelids, double vision or blurred vision, problems with chewing, hoarseness or even difficulties in swallowing, speaking or breathing, which may happen hours, days or weeks after the injection.

The DH urged the public to observe the health advice below before receiving botulinum toxin injections:

  • Injections should only be performed by locally registered doctors;
  • Understand the procedure, potential risks and complications before receiving injections. Consult a doctor for an informed decision;
  • Do not receive an injection in the case of history of allergy to botulinum toxin, or infection or inflammation on the injection site;
  • Request the full name of the doctor in writing if referred by a beauty service provider for the procedure, as well as the professional qualifications and relevant experience; and
  • If symptoms develop, such as fever or feeling unwell, seek medical attention immediately.

There are five main kinds of botulism: infant botulism, wound, foodborne, iatrogenic and adult intestinal toxemia. Iatrogenic botulism can happen if too much botulinum toxin is injected for cosmetic reasons, such as for wrinkles, or medical reasons, such as for migraine headaches.