Trichothecene mycotoxins are noted for their marked stability under different environmental conditions. On a weight-for-weight basis, they are less toxic than other toxins such as ricin, botulinum, and staphylococcal enterotoxin B, but trichothecene mycotoxins are proven lethal agents in warfare. Symptoms include vomiting, pain, weakness, dizziness, ataxia, anorexia, diarrhea, bleeding, skin redness, blistering, and gangrene, as well as shock and rapid death. Sensitive immunoassays and chemical procedures are available for the identification of trichothecene mycotoxins in biological samples, but no detection kits have been fielded. Prevention of exposure is the only current defense, with a protective mask and clothing worn when under attack. Previous successful lethal attacks have always occurred against unprotected civilians and soldiers. Skin decontamination with water and soap can be used effectively up to 6 hours after exposure. Experimental treatments for systemic toxicity are being investigated, but no therapy is available for humans.
Textbook of Military Medicine: Medical Aspects of Chemical and Biological Warfare, p. 655-676