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SAMJ: South African Medical Journal

Print version ISSN 0256-9574

Abstract

PARRISH, Andy  and  LANCASTER, Ruth. Does the nose know?: Amitraz poisoning and olfaction. SAMJ, S. Afr. med. j. [online]. 2012, vol.102, n.4, pp. 223-224. ISSN 0256-9574.

The initial clinical presentation of amitraz and organophosphate poisoning may be similar. Reduced serum pseudocholinesterase supports a diagnosis of organophosphate toxicity, but there is no similar laboratory test for amitraz poisoning. A 'mothball-like' odour associated with poisoned patients may have diagnostic potential. In a blinded controlled trial, 83% (95% confidence interval, 63 - 93%) of 23 healthcare workers were able to distinguish between the odours of amitraz and organophosphates. Awareness of this simple component of bedside examination may allow earlier recognition of this potentially fatal poisoning.

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