Recognition of epidemics of environmental disease usually starts with the accurate diagnosis of one case. In their article in this issue, Hershko and his colleagues1 remind us how important recognizing a case of lead poisoning can be, not only for the patient, but for the community as well. By following up thoroughly on their index case, they found treatable illness in a number of other family members. An investigation uncovered how lead was getting into their patients and enabled them to look for, and try to prevent, similar poisoning in other villages of the region.
The contamination of homeground flour can now be added to the seemingly endless ways by which lead can get into people and cause disease. Lead's enormousm variety of uses and its widespread availability makes it a potential problem in communities at all levels of industrialization. Because of its durability and the ease with which it
Keogh JP. Recognizing Lead Poisoning in Adults. Arch Intern Med. 1984;144(10):1944-1945. doi:10.1001/archinte.1984.04400010052008