Lead Poisoning and Anemia Associated with Use of Ayurvedic Medications Purchased on the Internet--Wisconsin, 2015

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2015 Aug 21;64(32):883. doi: 10.15585/mmwr.mm6432a6.


On April 30, 2015, the Wisconsin Division of Public Health (WDPH) was notified by a local health department of an elevated blood lead level (BLL) in a female patient aged 64 years. All Wisconsin laboratories are required to provide BLL testing results performed on any state resident to WDPH, and WDPH and local health departments are statutorily mandated to investigate any single BLL ≥20 µg/dL or BLLs that are persistently ≥15 µg/dL. Review of medical records revealed that the patient had developed progressive fatigue and shortness of breath during a period of multiple weeks that prompted inpatient medical evaluation. Hemoglobin level was 8.3 g/dL (normal range for age and sex of patient = 12.5-15.0 g/dL), and peripheral blood smear showed normochromic, normocytic red blood cells with basophilic stippling. A BLL was obtained and found to be 85.8 µg/dL. Urine toxic metals tests revealed mercury and aluminum levels in the normal range. Combined methylated and inorganic urine arsenic levels were slightly elevated at 53.3 µg/L (normal = <18.9 µg/L). The patient was discharged for outpatient lead chelation therapy with oral meso-2,3-dimercaptosuccinic acid.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Anemia / chemically induced*
  • Commerce
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Lead / blood
  • Lead Poisoning / etiology*
  • Medicine, Ayurvedic*
  • Middle Aged
  • Wisconsin


  • Lead