Apr 6, 2014
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ERGOT POISONING

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Ergot poisoning, or ergotism, occasionally results from eating bread made from rye infected with the fungus, Claviceps purpurea. Several terrible epidemics (St Anthony’s Fire), characterised by intense pain and hallucinations, occurred in France and Germany during the Middle Ages (see ERYSIPELAS). Its symptoms are the occurrence of spasmodic muscular contractions, and the gradual production of gangrene in parts like the fingers, toes and tips of the ears because of constriction of blood vessels and therefore the blood supply.

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