A retrospective review of the dermatologic manifestations of chronic arsenic poisoning in the Philippines.

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Abstract

BACKGROUND

The Section of Dermatology of the University of the Philippines, Philippine General Hospital, reported a case of chronic arsenic poisoning from a community in Luzon island to the Department of Health resulting in the conduct of two health and environmental assessment missions in December 2014.

OBJECTIVE

To describe the demographic profile and cutaneous manifestations of chronic arsenic poisoning among affected residents in Luzon, Philippines.

METHODS

A review of the medical records of 116 residents screened during the health assessment missions in December 2014 was conducted.

RESULTS

Among the 116 residents screened, 81 (70%) had clinically confirmed arsenic keratoses and hyperpigmentation. Among them, 52 were males and 29 were females with age range of 4-82 years. Two cases of squamous cell carcinoma in situ were detected through skin biopsy. High levels of arsenic in the tap water and topsoil supported the occurrence of an epidemic of chronic arsenic poisoning.

CONCLUSION

Specific dermatologic findings of arsenic keratoses and pigmentation were common among the residents screened. Significantly higher occurrence of arsenic keratoses was seen in adults.

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