INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– Health officials are warning about an outbreak of patients with severe bleeding after using synthetic cannabinoids, potentially contaminated with rat poison.
Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an outbreak alert. It reported people in Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Missouri and Wisconsin with serious unexplained bleeding, many who reported synthetic cannabinoid use. It said a working hypothesis was synthetic cannabinoids were contaminated with brodifacoum.
Brodifacoum is an anticoagulant ingredient commonly found in rat poison, according to health officials.
“It’s hard to know how many patients we actually have,” Dr. Daniel Rusyniak, an IU Health toxicologist and the medical director of the Indiana Poison Center at IU Health, said.
The Illinois Department of Public Health reports 126 cases as of Friday, including three deaths, linked to people using synthetic cannabinoids before suffering from severe bleeding.
The CDC said it has sent a team to help the Illinois Department of Public Health, is coordinating with multiple states and reviewing calls to all U.S. poison information centers to identify cases that may be related to the outbreak.