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June 2, 1975

Methanol Poisoning

Author Affiliations

University of Miami School of Medicine Miami, Fla

JAMA. 1975;232(9):906-907. doi:10.1001/jama.1975.03250090010004

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To the Editor.—  In reading the editorial on methanol intoxication (229: 1335, 1974), I recalled an endemic outbreak we faced at the Children's Hospital of Buenos Aires, Argentina, back in 1967. All patients were infants, averaging 2 to 8 months in age, who, due to a common illness (diarrhea, fever, etc), were rubbed with methanol-contaminated rubbing alcohol. After alcohol was applied, those infants were wrapped in diapers and plastic or rubber pants. Before diagnosis was made, there were a few patients who died of uncontrollable metabolic acidosis and coma, despite large amounts of bicarbonate. Peritoneal dialysis was started as soon as methanol poisoning was suspected. An extra dose of sodium bicarbonate was added to the dialysate. Most of these patients were saved, especially when this procedure was started early in the course of the intoxication. In only a few did visual disturbances or acute renal failure develop.There is little in