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Article
September 4, 1943

DERMATITIS FROM SEMECARPUS ANACARDIUM (BHILAWANOL OR THE MARKING NUT): SPREAD BY CONTAMINATED MAIL

Author Affiliations

Acting Assistant Surgeon, U. S. Public Health Service BETHESDA, MD.

From the Dermatoses Investigations Section, Division of Industrial Hygiene, National Institute of Health, U. S. Public Health Service.

JAMA. 1943;123(1):27. doi:10.1001/jama.1943.02840360029006
Abstract

These cases are reported because of the novelty of the mode of spread of a contact dermatitis and to report a plant irritant uncommon to the Western Hemisphere.

Dermatitis affecting 16 persons developed among employees of one of the large government departments in Washington, and the Dermatoses Investigations Section was requested to investigate.

A bottle in a sealed mailpouch, shipped from India by air, had become partially opened and its contents, a thick black oil, had contaminated various pieces of mail. The contaminating substance was labeled "Bhilawanol Oil."

REPORT OF CASES  Three workers who were unpacking the pouch wiped the oil off the mail as well as they could. It was then distributed by a force of carriers and clerks numbering approximately 50. By evening a number of workers complained of itching and burning of their hands, arms and faces. Within twenty-four hours a vesicular eruption appeared on the exposed

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