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Women's Health

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CDC Urges Ricin Poisoning Awareness

Mysterious Letter Found With Vial of Poison Warns of Jan. 4 Action

Ricin Poisoning continued...

There's no lab test that can tell whether a person has been poisoned with ricin.

"It's difficult to recognize ricin poisoning. It can resemble a simple viral illness," Belson says. "Recognition should go with certain clues like an increased number of patients coming to hospital, or an illness progressing unexpectedly, or illness where there is a credible threat of ricin exposure."

There's no specific treatment for -- or vaccine against -- ricin poisoning. A person who has suffered ricin poisoning is given intravenous fluids and drugs, such as dopamine, that support blood pressure. Activated charcoal can be given to people with known or suspected ricin poisoning if they are not yet vomiting and if they are breathing properly. Stomach pumping can be done only within an hour of ricin ingestion.

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