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Rare Death Via Histamine Poisoning Following Crab Consumption: A Case Report

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Histamine poisoning (scombroid food poisoning) is a toxicity syndrome that results from eating spoiled fish. To date, however, few poisoning (or mortality) cases have been reported in relation to crab consumption. Here, we describe a very uncommon case in which a 37‐year‐old woman and her 14‐year‐old son ate cooked crabs (Scylla serrata), resulting in the death of the female. Samples of vomitus, food residue, liver tissue, gastric content, intestinal content, and cardiac blood were analyzed by high‐performance liquid chromatography. Toxicological analysis revealed that histamine concentrations were very high in the cooked crab (47.08 mg/100 g) and intestinal content (22.54 mg/100 g). Comparing our toxicological results, police investigations, and family member statements, it can be assumed that the decedent ingested spoiled crabs, and by excluding other causes of death, lethal intoxication with histamine poisoning was confirmed.
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Keywords: autopsy; crabs; food poisoning; forensic science; forensic toxicology; high‐performance liquid chromatography; histamine poisoning; pathology

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2018

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