Response to a Ricin Incident: Guidelines for Federal, State, and Local Public Health and Medical Officials [open pdf - 1MB]
"The purpose of this document is to provide a template for a public health and medical response to a ricin incident and some of the recovery aspects that such an incident might warrant. It includes current information on ricin with respect to field sampling and laboratory testing, epidemiology and public health surveillance, medical treatment, risk communication, and environmental assessment, cleanup, and remediation. The document attempts to establish a comprehensive approach for domestic incident management involving ricin, again concentrating on public health and medical aspects. Ricin is a toxin derived from the castor bean plant. Ricin can be extracted relatively easily from castor beans; most of these preparations can be found in open-source literature (see Chapter 4 for more details). Exposure to ricin can occur through several routes including inhalation, ingestion, skin and eye exposure, and injection. The most lethal route of exposure is through injection, but that would necessarily be a limited event that would not require a coordinated public health response. Exposure to ricin by inhalation would pose the most serious public health and medical scenario. Exposure to ricin in high doses can cause organ failure and death with initial symptoms developing within 4-8 hours of inhalational exposure and up to 10 hours for ingestional exposure.2 Ricin is a non-contagious agent, and there is currently no approved treatment or cure for ricin exposure in humans. However, the symptoms can be managed with medical intervention if recognized early, and if the dose is not lethal."
Department of Health and Human Services. Center for Disease Control and Prevention: http://www.bt.cdc.gov/