Chronic mercury poisoning is becoming a health concern because of extensive pollution of water and fish, and the increasing consumption of fish in the human diet. Mercury is extremely toxic to the body, especially the central nervous system, but diagnosis is difficult because of the lack of specific signs. A total of 11 patients were observed to have a nonpruritic or mildly pruritic discreet papular and papulovesicular eruption that correlated with high blood mercury levels. The mercury evidently came from increased seafood consumption. All of the patients improved when they were placed on either a seafood-free diet or chelation therapy. Physicians should suspect mercury poisoning in patients who eat a high-seafood diet who present with an asymptomatic or mildly pruritic papular or papulovesicular eruption.
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