Disease/Syndrome

Metal fume fever

Category

Acute Poisoning

Acute/Chronic

Acute-Moderate

Synonyms

"Galvo"; Welders' ague; Monday fever; Brass founder's ague

Comments

Metal fume fever occurs after heavy exposure to zinc oxide fume or dust, e.g., after welding or flame cutting of galvanized steel, high temperature zinc coating processes, or metal pouring in brass foundries. (Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc.) After an episode, there is a temporary period of tolerance for a day or two. [Harber, p. 245] Copper and magnesium fume can also cause metal fume fever. [LaDou, p. 376] It is important to distinguish metal fume fever from cadmium pneumonitis. Metal fume fever resolves without treatment; cadmium pneumonitis may be life-threatening. One possibly useful criteria is the color of the fume. Zinc fume appears white, while cadmium fume is yellowish. [Rosenstock, p. 955]

Latency/Incubation

3 to 10 hours

Diagnostic

Clinical

ICD-9 Code

985.8

Reference Link

Metal fume fever: characterization of clinical and plasma IL-6 responses in controlled human exposures to zinc oxide fume at and below the threshold limit value

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