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The TurnstoneA Doctor's Story$
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Geoffrey Dean

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780853237570

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.5949/UPO9781846314292

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The Turkish Epidemic of Porphyria

The Turkish Epidemic of Porphyria

Chapter:
(p.104) Chapter 11 The Turkish Epidemic of Porphyria
Source:
The Turnstone
Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.5949/liverpool/9780853237570.003.0011

This chapter presents the author's account of a porphyria epidemic in Turkey. In 1955, Dr Cihad Çam, a dermatologist in Diyarbakir in eastern Turkey, saw a large number of children with sores and blisters on their faces, and on the backs of their hands. He later realized that their symptoms had probably been caused by some form of porphyria. Dr Çam found that the affected children had been eating bread made from the seed-wheat sent by the United States to eastern Turkey. This wheat, which was treated with the fungicide hexachlorobenzene, was responsible for the epidemic. It was estimated in 1960 that at least 5,000 children were seriously affected and that an alarmingly high number had died from the disorder.

Keywords:   fungicide, hexachlorobenzene, seed-wheat, outbreak

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