Florida is now joining eight other states reporting cases of serious bleeding due use of synthetic marijuana laced with rat poison.
So far the CDC has reported at least 160 cases and at least three deaths across Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Florida, and Wisconsin.
One death was reported in Hillsborough County.
According to an autopsy report released by the Hillsborough County Medical Examiner, 37-year-old Carlos Pimentel-Bonano died on March 26. His death was caused by hemorrhage due to brodifacoum poisoning – or bleeding due to rat poison.
Pimentel-Bonano’s toxicology analysis revealed brodifacoum, 5F-ADB (a synthetic cannabinoid), and THC in his system.
According to the CDC, symptoms of exposure to rat poison usually start a couple of days after use but can take up to 26 days to develop.
They can include blood in urine, nose or gum bleeding, vomiting or coughing up blood, or a bleed in the head which can cause a headache and neurological symptoms like a stroke.
Bleeding can be internal, especially if there is an injury, and may manifest as pain in the belly or side.
Physicians are being urged to test for the poison if they find any unusual signs of bleeding.
Because the rat poison interferes with vitamin K, a necessary component of clotting, treatment consists of replacing it. The CDC says treatment can cost $8,000 for two weeks and treatment may take months.
If you have concerns or think you or someone you know may have been exposed, you can contact the Florida Poison Information Center (800) 222-1222.