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Use of plants in bio-terrorism
 

Use of plants in bio-terrorism

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    Use of plants in bio-terrorism Use of plants in bio-terrorism Presentation Transcript

    • Why plant toxins are used in Bioterrorism? • Biotoxins of plant origin attract terrorists as they are: _ Difficult to detect _ Difficult to control
    • • There are a huge variety of plant poisons and it is difficult to organize the myriad plant toxins in an understandable manner. • Among known plant toxins, few of which may be worthy of special attention in context of bioterrorism. 1. Ricin 2. Abrin 3. Gelonin 4. Lectin 5. Curare 6. Modeccin
    • Ricin • Castor plant - Ricinus communis – From processing waste • Castor beans for oil – Very stable – In several forms • Powder, mist, pellet, dissolved in water or weak acid – Irreversibly blocks protein synthesis – Potential medical uses
    • Ricin
    • History • World War I – Considered for use as weapon by US • 1978: London – Assassination of Bulgarian exile, Georgi Markov • 1991: Minnesota – Patriot’s Council plot to kill US Marshal • Iran-Iraq war – Reports of ricin use – Found in Al Qaeda caves in Afghanistan
    • Transmission • Three routes – Inhalation – Ingestion – Injection • Person-to-person transmission does not occur.
    • Signs and Symptoms • Inhalation – Incubation less than 8 hours – Cough, weakness, fever, nausea, muscle aches, chest pain and cyanosis – Pulmonary edema, 18-24 hours after inhalation – Severe respiratory distress – Death from hypoxemia, 36-72 hours
    • Pulmonary edema
    • • Ingestion – Least toxic form – Less toxic if castor beans swallowed whole – Severe GI symptoms, 1-2 hours – Rapid heartbeat – Internal bleeding – Vascular collapse – Death occurs in 3 days or more
    • • Injection – Local pain and necrosis at site of injection – Systemic signs similar to those of ingestion
    • Treatment • No treatment, vaccine or antisera currently available • Avoid ricin exposure • Supportive care – Dependent on route of exposure – Ventilator – Gastric lavage or cathartics
    • Ricin as biological weapon • • • • Extreme ease of production Widely available Relatively high toxicity Currently no treatment – Supportive care only
    • Abrin • Jequirity pea - Abrus precatorius _ Very stable _ In several forms _ Powder, mist, pellet, dissolved in water _ Blocks protein synthesis _ Potential medical use
    • Abrus plant
    • Toxicity • Abrin works by _ penetrating the cells of the body _ inhibiting cell protein synthesis • The severity of the effects of abrin poisoning vary on the means of exposure to the substance (whether inhaled, ingested, or injected).
    • Transmission • Three routes _ Inhalation _ Ingestion _ Absorption
    • Signs and Symptoms • Inhalation – Respiratory distress, fever, cough, nausea, and tightness in the chest. – Heavy sweating may follow as well as pulmonary edema. – Skin might turn blue – Low blood pressure – Respiratory failure that ultimately lead to death
    • Cyanosis
    • • Ingestion If a person swallows a small amount: _ Vomiting, diarrhea, hallucination, seizures and blood in the urine. _ Severe dehydration followed by low blood pressure. _ Within several days, the person’s liver, spleen and kidney might stop working, and the person will die.
    • • Absorption In powder or mist form abrin can cause _ Redness of skin and eyes _ pain • Death from abrin poisoning could take place within 36 to 72 hours of exposure.
    • Treatment • • • • No treatment or antidote Avoid abrin exposure Getting the abrin off or out of body Supportive care _ Dependent on route of exposure _ Flushing stomach with activated charcoal
    • GELONIN • Himalayan plant - Gelonium multiflorum • Inhibits protein synthesis _ by cleaving N-glycosidic bond of specific adenine.