Mass Bromide poisoning in Angola - update 2
30 November 2007
As of 29 November 2007, 468 confirmed cases of bromide poisoning have been identified in the ongoing outbreak of a neurological disease in the Cacuaco municipality, Luanda Province, Angola. The cases have been treated at the Municipal Hospital in Cacuaco.
Toxicology laboratories in Munich (Germany) and Birmingham (UK) have detected very high levels of bromide in blood samples of patients. In addition, laboratories in Geneva (Switzerland) and Munich have detected very high levels of sodium bromide (>80%) in table salt samples collected in the households of patients.
These findings provide a clear indication that this outbreak is very likely due to bromide poisoning which occurred through use of table salt highly contaminated with sodium bromide. It is still unknown how the salt samples were contaminated. Additional food samples are currently being analysed to identify any potential secondary source of exposure.
WHO continues to provide support to the Angolan Health Authorities for further epidemiological studies, environmental investigations, laboratory analysis, case management, risk communication, and social mobilization actions, including a salt replacement campaign.