Three sick after Shenzhen jabs

Local | Amy Nip 3 Jun 2016

A 21-year-old woman was admitted to hospital yesterday suffering from suspected botulism after receiving Botox injections in Shenzhen in the third such case in a week.

The woman has suffered blurred vision, neck weakness and difficulty in swallowing since last Thursday, the Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health said yesterday.

Two days earlier she visited a beauty center in Buji where she received botox injections in both her calves, understood to be for slimming purposes.

She attended the accident and emergency department of North District Hospital yesterday and was admitted for management in a stable condition.

The center said the preliminary clinical diagnosis was suspected iatrogenic botulism, a rare acquired neuromuscular junction disease caused by neurotoxins produced by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum.

Botox is the commercial form of the botulinum toxin.

"We have no evidence at this stage that patients of the three recent cases had received injections in the same premises," a spokesman for the center said. "Epidemiological investigations are ongoing."

The center said the first case was a woman, 47, who traveled to Shenzhen on May 15 and visited a beauty premises where she received Botox injections to each leg. Nine days later, she went to the accident and emergency department of Caritas Medical Centre and was admitted for management.

She spent one day in the intensive care unit for treatment and observation on May 25. She was discharged against medical advice on May 27.

On May 29, Caritas reported to the center about another female patient, 41, who developed difficulty in swallowing and breathing as well as weakness of neck muscle since May 11.

The woman traveled to Shenzhen on May 9 and visited a beauty centre at Jiulongcheng Square, in Dongmen, Shenzhen, during which she received at least three Botox injections to her forehead, face and neck.

The center urged anyone who develops symptoms following Botox injections to seek medical help immediately.

"Patients receiving the injection may have problems with chewing or even swallowing, speaking or breathing," a spokesman said.

"These problems may happen in hours, days or weeks."

Nelson Yip Sai-hung, founding chairman of the Federation of Beauty Industry, said people underestimate the danger of injecting Botox into calves.

"People thought face distortion would be the only side effect resulting from Botox injection," he said.

"They misunderstood that it would be OK to do it to their legs, as any distortion wouldn't matter."

People were lured to the mainland for Botox injections due to the lower prices.

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