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Ricin found in Las Vegas motel, man in critical condition

The deadly toxin "ricin" discovered in Las Vegas motel, sends man in critical condition.

Ricin found in Las Vegas motel, man in critical condition A deadly toxin believed to be "ricin" was discovered in a motel room at the Extended Stay America Motel in Las Vegas, it was reported today. A friend of the man who stayed at the room brought the substance to the motel manager, saying he found the substance in his room. Three motel employees and another person, were quarantined and decontaminated, then taken to hospital. Some news agencies report that total of seven people have been taken to local hospitals for treatment, though they were released when they showed no signs of exposure.

 The man renting the room, whose identity is being withheld due to the investigation, was hospitalized in critical condition with symptoms consistent with exposure to the deadly toxin, Las Vegas police said later today. The man renting the Las Vegas motel room was admitted in the hospital on February 14th with respiratory distress, but did not tell to the doctors that he may have been exposed to ricin. The person who found the toxic substance was a friend of the man renting the room and went to pick up his belonging, found the ricin and alerting the management. The authorities believe that the ricin case is not related to terrorism. 

 The protein "ricin" is a toxin extracted from the castor bean and is highly lethal and can be fatal if inhaled, ingested, or injected. A dose as small as pin-head could kill an adult and even if survived, long term organ damage is likely. Ricin is 6,000 times more toxic than cyanide and 12,000 times more poisonous than rattlesnake venom by weight. There is no known antidote to the toxin, although the military had developed a vaccine in case of ricin being used as biological weapon against U.S. troops. The castor beans from which the ricin is extracted are widely used to produce castor oil for use in the food industry, medicine and in industrial applications. 

 Published on 02/29/2008

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