A 55-year-old man who was hospitalized at the Municipal Hospital of Santarém, in western Pará, died this Tuesday morning (7) with suspicion of Haff Syndrome, known as “black urine disease”.
The patient, who worked as a motorcycle taxi driver and was identified as Genivaldo Cardoso de Azevedo, was admitted to the hospital unit with symptoms characteristic of Haff Syndrome.
According to friends of Genivaldo, he would have eaten fish over the weekend and hours later began to feel the first symptoms. In the medical report, death was attested as a “generalized infection”.
The patient’s clinical condition was considered delicate. He was taken to the stabilization sector, but he did not resist and died.
Hospitalizations and rapid worsening
The technical director of the HSM informed that the patient had the first symptoms and was admitted to the Emergency Care Unit (UPA-24h) on September 5th. Genivaldo complained of cramp-like muscle pain in his legs.
“He received care, improved the condition and was released. But the patient got worse, the muscle pain increased. During the Sunday, he presented a worsening of the case and was requested to be transferred to the Emergency Room”, said technical director Vinicius Savino.
Genivaldo was admitted to the new hospital unit during the early hours of Monday (6). “The clinical symptoms indicate that he had severe myalgia [dor muscular] evolving into a process that we call rhabdomyolysis, a process in which there is muscle suffering, so the patient presents a picture of urinary insufficiency. That’s what happened to him. The urine decreased and he presented darkening of the urine”, explained the doctor.
As the Municipal Hospital of Santarém, as it is a suspected case of Haff Syndrome, the Health Surveillance agencies were called to follow technical protocols.
The Epidemiological Surveillance of Santarém confirmed that it will start the investigation and mapping protocols on Wednesday (8), with monitoring and notification of Genivaldo’s family members. This work will be guided by a technical note from the State Department of Health (Sespa).
“We are also going to investigate the family members. If someone presents symptoms, we will advise them to have a medical follow-up, because there are several symptoms”, explained the coordinator of the Epidemiological Surveillance of Santarém, Andressa Campos.
Exams performed both at the UPA and at the HMS will be sent to the Surveillance to be analyzed by the technical team.
Also according to Andressa, another suspected case has already been notified by the Surveillance. The patient was admitted to the UPA-24h after eating fish. He received medical care and started to be monitored, but the suspicion of the disease was not confirmed.
What is Haff Syndrome?
Meet black urine disease
The disease is caused by eating fish contaminated with a toxin capable of causing muscle necrosis, ie, muscle degradation. Other symptoms of the disease are due to this condition. The syndrome is associated with the consumption of fish such as arabaiana, known as bull’s eye, and whiting (see video above).
The way in which the animal is contaminated by the toxin that causes the disease, however, is not a consensus among experts. Some infectologists say that the toxin is generated by the poor packaging of fish, but others claim that the toxin comes from algae consumed by the animal.