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1 woman dies, 3 suffer liver disease from Chinese diet aids.

SAITAMA, Japan, July 17 Kyodo

One woman from Saitama Prefecture died and three others from the same prefecture suffered from liver problems after taking diet aid products imported from China, prefectural health officials said Wednesday.

The four were all diet aid users, with the first woman, aged 29, dying of fulminant hepatitis two years ago apparently after consuming Yuzhitang, among other products, the officials said.

They said it would be hard to determine the link between the woman's death and her dosage of the diet aid since she had long since died and there was no evidence of the products she took.

According to officials, the woman died at a Saitama hospital in July 2000. The family on Tuesday notified the prefecture, saying that the name of the diet aids released by the health ministry was similar to that taken by the woman.

The latest revelation marks the second such case of death reported from taking the diet aids. The ministry earlier said a 60-year-old woman who took Yuzhitang was admitted to a hospital in February and died about two months later due to acute liver failure.

Liver disorders in several other people in Japan were also linked to consumption of diet aids.

According to Saitama officials, two of the three women, who suffered from liver dysfunction, had been using two Chinese aid products -- Yuzhitang and Xianzhisu -- which the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry has urged caution over since releasing their names last Friday.

The third woman is suspected of consuming another Chinese diet aid in capsule form believed harmful to human health, but which the ministry has declined to name, they said.

None of the three -- two in their 40s and one in her 30s -- is in serious condition, they said.

Meanwhile, three women in Shiga Prefecture who had been users of the diet aids had been hospitalized, one of whom is suffering from fulminant hepatitis and is in serious condition, officials said.

The woman, who is in her 50s, consumed Xianzhisu in February and complained late last month of a stomach upset. She was hospitalized and diagnosed with fulminant hepatitis, according to the officials.

In Ibaraki Prefecture, local officials said a woman who purchased one of the Chinese products at a beauty treatment clinic in Hitachi had been diagnosed with thyroid gland abnormalities.

The officials said the woman, who is either in her 40s or 50s, purchased Yuzhitang in May. She suffered light symptoms but consulted the prefectural health office Monday.

The clinic imported 1,300 boxes from China around October last year, with each box carrying 120 capsules. It has purchased 1,225 boxes over the counter and online, and is now recalling the products. Sales were halted last Friday.
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Publication:Japan Weekly Monitor
Date:Jul 22, 2002
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