What is trichothecene mycotoxin?
Trichothecene mycotoxin (T-2) is a naturally occurring poison produced by fungi. This poison can slow down the production of protein and nucleic acid in the body. A purified form of T-2 may have been used in Laos and Cambodia (1975-1981), in Kampuchea (1979-1981) and in Afghanistan (1979-1981). It has been described as “yellow rain” because it is a yellow fluid.
How can someone come into contact T-2 mycotoxin?
T-2 cannot be spread from person to person. Accidental contact with large amounts of T-2 is not likely; it would take a planned act to make T-2 and use it to poison a large number of people.
T-2 as a weapon: T-2 can be aerosolized and released into the air. T-2 also can enter the body through the skin and digestive tract, without being breathed in.
Please note: Just because you come into contact with T-2 does not mean you will get sick from it.
What happens if someone gets sick from T-2 mycotoxin?
The symptoms of T-2 poisoning include the following:
Severe poisoning can result in weakness, shock and death.
How likely is someone to die from T-2 mycotoxin poisoning?
The effects of T-2 mycotoxin poisoning will depend on the concentration of exposure, length of time and way the person is exposed. A highly concentrated solution or large amount of the gas is more likely to cause severe effects, including death.
The likeliness of T-2 mycotoxin causing someone to die is unknown. It is estimated that more than 6,000 people were killed by the “yellow rain” in Laos.
What is the treatment for T-2 mycotoxin poisoning?
Is there a vaccine for T-2 mycotoxin poisoning?
No, there is no vaccine for T-2 poisoning.
What should be done if someone comes into contact with T-2 mycotoxin?
If you think that you or someone you know may have come into contact with T-2, contact the local county health department right away. (Visit www.idph.state.il.us/local/alpha.htm for a listing of all county health departments in Illinois or check your local phone book.)
If you or someone you know is showing symptoms of T-2 poisoning, call your health care provider or the Illinois Poison Center right away. The toll-free number for the poison center is 1-800-222-1222.
Where can one get more information about T-2 mycotoxin?
Illinois Department of Public Health
Illinois Poison Center