Ricin poisoning can occur by dermal (skin) exposure, aerosol inhalation, ingestion, or injections and the symptoms vary depending on the route of exposure. If Ricin comes in contact with the skin, it is unlikely to be fatal, unless combined with a solvent such as DMSO. Aerosol inhalation of Ricin can cause symptoms within four to eight hours. Fever, chest tightness, cough, nausea, and joint pain may occur. Ricin can cause cell death in the respiratory system and eventual respiratory failure. If Ricin is ingested, it can cause severe lesions in the digestive system within two hours of exposure. It may cause abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and bloody diarrhea. Eventual complications include cell death in the liver, kidney, adrenal glands, and central nervous system. Injection of Ricin causes local cell death in muscles, tissue, and lymph nodes. Ricin poisoning causes death generally within three to five days. If Ricin exposure does not cause death within five days, the victim will probably survive.
There is no cure for Ricin poisoning, although a vaccine is currently under development. Treatment for dermal exposure includes decontamination using soap and water or a hypochlorite (bleach) solution, which deactivates Ricin. In case of aerosol inhalation, treatment is the administration of oxygen, intubation, and ventilation. Ingestion of Ricin is treated with activated charcoal.
- Ricin - Ricin Production And Use As A Biological Weapon
- Ricin - Chemical Structure And Pathological Pathway
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