3 Feb 2013

US sending cyanide treatment kits to Brazil

11:36 am on 3 February 2013

The United States government is sending emergency medical supplies to Brazil to treat survivors of a deadly nightclub fire who were exposed to cyanide gas released in the blaze.

A total of 119 people are still in hospital after the fire at the Kiss nightclub in Santa Maria that killed 236 on Sunday.

Brazilian doctors have said cyanide was among the toxic chemicals produced when fire consumed the soundproofing foam on the club's ceiling, contributing to the high number of fatalities.

The health ministry urgently requested 140 of cyanide-treatment kits containing the medicine hydroxocobalamin.

The medicine, which is not available in Brazil, was made by a division of Pfizer. The kits should arrive on a commercial flight on Saturday morning and will be immediately dispatched to hospitals in Santa Maria.

The treatment should offset cyanide poisoning, allowing more oxygen into the victims' bodies.