Since August 21, the state of Amazonas has registered 44 cases of rhabdomyolysis associated with Haff’s Disease, known as the “black urine” disease. According to the Amazonas Health Surveillance Foundation, one person died from the disease.
The municipalities that register cases are: Itacoatiara (34 cases and one death), Silves (four cases), Manaus and Parintins (with two cases each), Caapiranga and Autazes, with one case each. Of the total number of patients, ten are still hospitalized — all are from Itacoatiara.
According to the director-president of the foundation, Cristiano Fernandes, the epidemiological investigation of the cases is being reinforced. “All reported cases may be associated with fish ingestion. There is still no consensus in the scientific community about the toxin that contaminates fish. Surveillance is focusing on early detection of cases and monitoring so that there is adequate clinical management for patients “, explains.
Understand the disease “black urine”
Its exact origin is still mysterious, but researchers found unanimity: all patients, even outside Brazil, consumed some animal that lives in water, often fresh water.
Some experts have raised the suspicion that it is caused by bacteria, but this is considered unlikely. The most accepted hypothesis is that the disease is caused by some type of toxin, not yet identified, that contaminates the food and remains active in raw food or even after being cooked, fried or roasted.
What are the symptoms of the disease
Symptoms of Haff’s disease usually appear between two and 24 hours after eating fish or shellfish. In addition to the discomfort felt by the body and the dark color of urine, the condition can cause kidney failure.
This is because the muscles, when injured, release a substance called myoglobin into the blood, which can damage the kidneys (and is also responsible for black pee).
The most serious sequelae usually only happen if the patient does not have fast and efficient care. Other common sensations are shortness of breath, numbness and loss of body strength.
Tests can be ordered to confirm the diagnosis, but as it is not known exactly what causes the disease, the most important thing will be to hear the patient’s history. Rarely, the recommendation is that a health care provider be sought as soon as symptoms appear.
How is the treatment done
It is carried out based on the consequences that the disease has left. Patients are usually hospitalized and treated with fluid replacement and intensive or semi-intensive support.
Health professionals seek to alleviate symptoms such as pain, shortness of breath and helping the situation of the kidneys with devices, when necessary. If it is a mild condition, the signs of the disease disappear in a few days, without the need for hospitalization or the use of medical devices. However, even so, the medical evaluation is important.
* With information from a report published on 07/12/2021.