Home / Local News
Sat, Jan 20, 2001 - Page 4 News List

Autopsies of Hualian pair find unusual syndrome

By Liu Shao-hua  /  STAFF REPORTER

Doctors yesterday added another piece to the puzzling deaths this week of a Hualien couple, saying that the pair had suffered a rare pathological condition called hemophagocypic syndrome and that further research would be needed to pinpoint the exact cause of death.

National Taiwan University Hospital concluded that this rare syndrome led to the couple's sudden death, after autopsies were performed on the bodies.

The Department of Health's Center for Disease Control held a press conference yesterday to make public the autopsy results.

Many factors can lead to hemophagocypic syndrome, such as a virus, bacteria or some unknown causes. Seventy percent of cases have been proved to be contracted by viruses. Symptoms include high fever, sore muscles, fatigue, vomiting and abdominal pains, according to the CDC.

Su Yi-jen (蘇益仁), director of the pathology department at NTU hospital, said the hemophagocypic syndrome discovered during the autopsies was the most serious he has seen during over the past two decades.

"Further research needs to be done to confirm what the virus is," Su said.

Su and CDC officials jointly emphasized that the death due to hemophagocypic syndrome was rare. "The syndrome is not communicable," they added.

They did not comment on the traces of the rare metal tellurium that were found in the couple's blood during toxicology examinations at Taipei's Veterans General Hospital.

Three days ago the hospital said the male victim had died of tellurium poisoning.

Deng said yesterday that no one knows whether there is a connection between the poisoning and hemophagocypic syndrome. He said tests conducted by the two hospitals were reliable. NTU checked the bodies, while Veterans General checked the blood and urine.

This story has been viewed 3733 times.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top