Algae kills dialysis patients in Brazil

BMJ 1996; 312 doi: (Published 11 May 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;312:1183

Thirty eight patients undergoing dialysis at a renal diseases institute in Brazil have died of acute hepatic failure as a result of contamination of the water used for haemodialysis. The cause of the deaths, which all occurred between 20 February and 19 April, was a mystery initially. But the state secretary of health has reported that the water used for haemodialysis at the institute was contaminated with the toxin microcystin-LR, produced by a blue-green alga.

Tatiana Portela, a spokeswoman for …

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