ErgotismIncubation : long term, through accumulation
The poisoning is caused by Claviceps purpurea, a parasite of the heads of wild and cultivated cereals (rye, corn, etc.) and other closely related species. Ergotism is also from the Middle-ages as "holy fire" and "Saint Anthony's fire".
Toxic compounds involved : various alkaloids.
Signs of intoxication :
- convulsive signs : digestive problems, followed by nervous disorders, haalucinations, convulsions, contraction of smooth muscle tissues, blood vessels, uterus;
- gangrenous signs : gangrene of body extremities (fingers and toes), caused by the vasoconstriction induced by the poisoning (desquamation, edema then necrosis);
- Acute deadly form : severe vasoconstriction problems, muscular spasms, torpor, delirious disorders, suffocation.
Responsible species : Claviceps purpurea.
page updated on 25/06/15