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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Neglect Killed Patients

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil () -- Brazil's latest health crisis -- the deaths of 37 dialysis patients during the past six weeks -- was caused by neglect, a state health official said.

State Health Department Subsecretary Claudio Duarte said Sunday that tests at the Kidney Disease Institute in the city of Caruaru had revealed "failure to comply with quarterly water tests, the presence of slime in dialysis machinery, untrained workers and maintenance personnel and a lack of hygiene."

Victims experienced common symptoms, including yellowed eyes, water retention in the stomach, soaring blood pressure, frequent vomiting and weight loss. Duarte said water contamination by heavy metals or a toxin from blue algae were being considered as the two most probable causes of the problem.