JOURNAL ARTICLE

Endrin food-poisoning. A report on four outbreaks caused by two separate shipments of endrin-contaminated flour

D E Weeks
Bulletin of the World Health Organization 1967, 37 (4): 499-512
5301732
Between 3 June and 15 July 1967 four explosive outbreaks of acute poisoning with the insecticide endrin occurred in Doha in Qatar and Hofuf in Saudi Arabia. Altogether 874 persons were hospitalized and 26 died. It is estimated that many others were poisoned whose symptoms were not so severe as to cause them to seek medical care or to enter hospital.The author describes the course of the outbreaks and the measures taken to ascertain their cause and prevent their extension and recurrence. It was found that the victims had eaten bread made from flour contaminated with endrin. In two different ships, both of them loaded and off-loaded at different ports, flour and endrin had been stowed in the same hold, with the endrin above the flour. In both ships the endrin containers had leaked and penetrated the sacks of flour which was later used to make bread.These two unconnected but nearly simultaneous mass poisonings emphasize the importance of regulating the carriage of insecticides and other toxic chemicals in such a way as to prevent the contamination of foodstuffs and similar substances during transport; both the World Health Organization and the Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organization are working towards the establishment of regulations and practices to that end.

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