Ricin Found At Shelburne Retirement Community

Nov 29, 2017

Ricin, a toxic poison was found at Wake Robin, a retirement community in Shelburne, on Tuesday.

First responders were called to investigate a possible Ricin exposure. During the initial investigation, a substance tested positive for Ricin. The Vermont Department of Health confirmed the test this morning.

Officials say no one has been identified as being exposed and no further exposures are suspected. All areas potentially exposed to the substance have been evacuated and secured.

The incident is under investigation by the FBI.

The Vermont Departments of Health and of Public Safety released the following as part of their joint statement with the FBI:

What is Ricin?

Ricin is an extremely toxic poison found naturally in castor beans that can be treated to form a powder that can be inhaled or ingested.

What are the symptoms of ricin exposure?

Initial symptoms of ricin poisoning are most likely to occur within four to 10 hours if the ricin was inhaled or swallowed. Symptoms of ricin poisoning depend on whether ricin was inhaled or swallowed, and the dose received.

Symptoms of Inhalation Exposure: Respiratory distress (difficulty breathing), fever, cough, nausea, tightness in the chest, and heavy sweating. Symptoms may occur as early as four to eight hours, and as late as 24 hours after exposure. Symptoms are then likely to progress to include problems such as worsening respiratory distress, pulmonary edema (fluid within the lungs), and eventually respiratory failure.

Symptoms of Ingestion Exposure: Vomiting, diarrhea that may become bloody). Other signs may include hallucinations, seizures, and blood in the urine. Following ingestion of ricin, initial symptoms typically occur in less than 10 hours.

People who have concerns or questions about their health should contact their health care provider.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

Wake Robin is a VPR underwriter.