Subacute poisoining with phosalone, an organophosphate insecticide

M. A. O'Malley, Stephen A Mccurdy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


An illness characterized by weakness, dizziness, and gastrointestinal symptoms was identified among a crew of 30 migrant field-workers employed by a grape grower in Madera County, California, during August 1987. The onset of symptoms occurred between August 24 and August 30 and a median of 9 days from the date of first employment. The first crew member sought medical treatment on August 26, and 10 crew members were admitted to hospital between August 17 and August 30. For most workers, gastrointestinal and constitutional symptoms resolved shortly after admission, but 4 patients had episodes of severe sinus bradycardia persisting for several days. On the day of admission, transient atrioventricular dissociation developed in 2 persons. Interviews with 16 crew members not admitted to the hospital identified only 1 additional worker ill with gastrointestinal symptoms, but all 16 had moderate to severe inhibition of both plasma and red blood cell cholinesterase. Four other workers who were tested but not interviewed also had cholinesterase depression. The crew had had exposure since August 19 to the organophosphate insecticide phosalone, which was last applied to the vineyard on July 21, or 29 days earlier. Although this is the first report unequivocally linking phosphalone to field-worker posioning, the delayed onset and nonspecific nature of the symptoms associated with subacute poisoning may have hindered the recognition of previous similar episodes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)619-624
Number of pages6
JournalWestern Journal of Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Subacute poisoining with phosalone, an organophosphate insecticide'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this