Ergotism - Definition

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Ergotism is a pathology caused by the consumption of grains infected with claviceps purpurea, a microscopic fungus. This disease provokes vasoconstriction (reduced diameter) of the arteries in the limbs. This is notably characterized by cutaneous pains, necroses, and gangrene of the extremities (hands and feet). Moreover, ergotism is marked by psychological troubles (indeed, claviceps purpurea is involved in the manufacture of LSD) including delirium, convulsions, behavioral issues and an altered sense of perception and awareness.