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Forensic Sci Int. 2001 Dec 15;124(1):43-6.

A fatal case of pepper poisoning.

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Indigenous Toxicology Unit, Department of Chemical Pathology, SAIMR, University of the Witwatersrand Medical School, Johannesburg, South Africa.


An 8 month old infant died as the result of administration of a traditional remedy, given orally as an infusion of a red powder. The symptoms on admission were coughing with diarrhoea and vomiting. Analysis of the powder using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) confirmed the suspicion of capsaicin. Pepper preparations, which are used as traditional medicines, are highly toxic and their use on infants should be discouraged.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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