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May 1988

Rattlesnake Capsule—Associated Salmonella arizona Infections

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Infectious Diseases, Departments of Internal Medicine (Drs Riley, Antoniskis, and Leedom) and Clinical Microbiology (Dr Maris), Los Angeles County-University of Southern California Medical Center.

Arch Intern Med. 1988;148(5):1207-1210. doi:10.1001/archinte.1988.00380050211029

• Three Hispanic patients at our institution developed extragastrointestinal Salmonella arizona infection associated with the ingestion of rattlesnake capsules. All patients had underlying chronic medical illnesses, including the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, systemic lupus erythematosus, and congestive heart failure. Rattlesnake capsules were obtained from both local pharmacies and patients. Salmonella arizona, as well as various other enteric organisms, was grown on cultures obtained from all capsules tested. Review of the literature disclosed three additional cases of extragastrointestinal S arizona infection linked to rattlesnake capsule ingestion, all associated with underlying medical illness. We postulate that rattlesnake capsules may be frequently ingested by chronically ill Hispanic individuals and serve as a vehicle for serious S arizona infection.

(Arch Intern Med 1988;148:1207-1210)