Gupta: Ricin a deadly but clumsy weapon

Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Col. Randall Larsen discuss the use of Ricin as a biological weapon.

Posted: Oct 3, 2018 2:34 PM
Updated: Oct 3, 2018 2:43 PM

Ricin is a natural, highly toxic compound that is a byproduct of processing castor beans.

If inhaled, injected or ingested, less than a pinpoint of ricin can kill a person within 36 to 48 hours due to the failure of the respiratory and circulatory systems.

There is no known antidote, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The most important factor, it says, is getting the ricin off or out of the body quickly and providing medical care to reduce effects of poisoning, such as assisting in breathing or flushing a person's stomach.

If ingested, ricin causes nausea, vomiting and internal bleeding of the stomach and intestines, followed by failure of the liver, spleen and kidneys, and finally death by collapse of the circulatory system.

One molecule of ricin will kill a cell it enters. Ricin ingestion is not always fatal; children are at more risk than adults. Ricin poisoning is not contagious and cannot spread from person to person through casual contact, the CDC said.

If a castor bean seed is swallowed whole without damage to the seed coat, it will probably pass harmlessly through the system. But if the coat is chewed or broken and then swallowed, the poison will enter the body.

The CDC says unintentional exposure to ricin is "highly unlikely," except through ingestion of castor beans. "It would take a deliberate act to make ricin and use it to poison people," it says.

If injected, ricin causes the immediate death of the muscles and lymph nodes near the site of the injection. Failure of major organs and death usually follows.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 660071

Reported Deaths: 12531
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion904161633
Lake48298874
Allen35720633
Hamilton31970396
St. Joseph29796510
Elkhart25331412
Vanderburgh21192377
Tippecanoe19927199
Johnson16312356
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Hendricks15785300
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Wayne6622191
Grant6413157
Boone606888
Morgan6066124
Dubois5890111
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Cass542899
Marshall5414104
Henry541392
Noble508476
Jackson464165
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Gibson400981
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Clinton394453
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Ohio52911
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Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 964380

Reported Deaths: 17183
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1114961198
Cuyahoga950781723
Hamilton72988958
Montgomery47128883
Summit39949954
Butler35292468
Lucas35069761
Stark29218837
Warren22294272
Lorain21904389
Mahoning19348540
Lake18307304
Clermont18271210
Delaware16347135
Licking14893199
Fairfield14449157
Trumbull14239460
Greene13520212
Medina13290219
Clark12194335
Wood11460193
Portage10928155
Allen10742233
Richland10226205
Miami9984187
Muskingum8125129
Columbiana8086182
Tuscarawas8003235
Pickaway800199
Marion7963137
Wayne7837218
Erie6826184
Ross6104136
Geauga6030129
Hancock5965112
Ashtabula5917144
Scioto5906104
Lawrence521874
Union508852
Darke5021123
Belmont488388
Huron4761117
Jefferson4756107
Sandusky474494
Seneca4640103
Athens460931
Washington458787
Mercer4577101
Auglaize454698
Shelby440368
Knox400486
Putnam3976101
Madison390947
Fulton377364
Ashland377195
Defiance3699102
Brown368342
Crawford356096
Logan352459
Preble351771
Clinton338564
Highland326255
Ottawa320867
Williams301077
Jackson288556
Guernsey285034
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Fayette267644
Perry266743
Morrow258624
Henry244865
Hardin243256
Holmes2428104
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Van Wert228549
Gallia220746
Adams215132
Pike213627
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Hocking193248
Carroll179828
Paulding159223
Meigs134636
Noble128442
Monroe115636
Morgan100434
Harrison100132
Vinton76615
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