Alissa Widman Neese The Columbus Dispatch @AlissaWidman
State health officials issued a public warning Friday about a severe bleeding outbreak in the Midwest that has been linked to synthetic marijuana contaminated with a rat poison ingredient.
No cases have been reported in Ohio as of Friday, but a total of 94 people have exhibited symptoms in the past month in other states.
Most cases were in Illinois, which has reported 89 incidents, including two deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Cases also have been reported in Missouri, Wisconsin and Maryland, and there is a suspected case in Pennsylvania.
Ohio’s advisory is “purely precautionary,” said Dr. Mark Hurst, medical director for the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.
“If our health-care providers see a case of unexplained bleeding, we want them to be aware to consider this as a possible source,” Hurst said.
The contaminant, brodifacoum, is a very potent blood thinner, he said.
If someone ingests it, symptoms can include bruising, nosebleeds, bleeding gums, vomiting or coughing up blood, excessive menstrual bleeding, blood in urine or stool, back or flank pain, altered mental status and loss of consciousness, public health officials said.
Treatment requires hospitalization and high doses of vitamin K.
Synthetic cannabinoids are human-made chemicals that mimic the effects of marijuana. They are sprayed onto plant material to