Document Detail

Public health investigation after the discovery of ricin in a South Carolina postal facility.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  17413057     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
OBJECTIVES: In October 2003, a package containing ricin and a note threatening to poison water supplies was discovered in a South Carolina postal facility, becoming the first potential chemical terrorism event involving ricin in the United States. We examined the comprehensive public health investigation that followed and discuss the lessons learned from it.
METHODS: An investigation consisting primarily of environmental sampling for ricin contamination, performance of health assessments on affected personnel, and local, regional, and national surveillance for ricin-associated illness.
RESULTS: Laboratory analysis of 75 environmental sampling specimens revealed no ricin contamination. Health assessments of 36 affected employees were completed. Local surveillance initially identified 3 suspected cases, and national surveillance identified 399 outliers during the 2-week period after the incident. No confirmed cases of ricin-associated illness were identified.
CONCLUSIONS: A multifaceted and multidisciplinary approach is required for an effective public health response to a chemical threat such as ricin. The results of all of the described activities were used to determine that the facility was safe to reopen and that no public health threat existed.
Joshua G Schier; Manish M Patel; Martin G Belson; Amee Patel; Michael Schwartz; Nicole Fitzpatrick; Dan Drociuk; Scott Deitchman; Richard Meyer; Toby Litovitz; William A Watson; Carol H Rubin; Max Kiefer
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.     Date:  2007-04-05
Journal Detail:
Title:  American journal of public health     Volume:  97 Suppl 1     ISSN:  1541-0048     ISO Abbreviation:  Am J Public Health     Publication Date:  2007 Apr 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2007-04-17     Completed Date:  2007-06-27     Revised Date:  2013-06-06    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  1254074     Medline TA:  Am J Public Health     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  S152-7     Citation Subset:  AIM; IM    
Division of Environmental Hazards and Health Effects, National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Ga 30341, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Environmental Exposure
Occupational Exposure
Postal Service*
Public Health Practice*
Ricin / poisoning*
South Carolina
Reg. No./Substance:

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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