SAMJ: South African Medical Journal
On-line version ISSN 2078-5135
Print version 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.