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Chemical Warfare Weapons Fact Sheets
VX Nerve Agent
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Description

Chemists in the United Kingdom searching for new insecticides came across compounds that were extremely toxic to humans. The British shared the discovery with the U.S. Army in 1953 and a systematic investigation of these new compounds was begun at Edgewood. The Army discovered they were more persistent and much more toxic than the G-series agents. In 1955, these compounds were designated V-series agents for “venomous.” VX is an oily liquid that is clear, odorless and tasteless. It can be amber colored and similar in appearance to motor oil.

Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms of overexposure may occur within minutes or hours, depending upon the dose. They include: miosis (constriction of pupils) and visual effects, headaches and pressure sensation, runny nose and nasal congestion, salivation, tightness in the chest, nausea, vomiting, giddiness, anxiety, difficulty in thinking, difficulty sleeping, nightmares, muscle twitches, tremors, weakness, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, involuntary urination and defecation. Severe exposure symptoms progress to convulsions and respiratory failure.

Treatment

Inhalation: Hold breath until respiratory protective mask is donned. If severe signs of agent exposure appear (chest tightens, pupil constriction, incoordination, etc.), immediately administer, in rapid succession, all three Nerve Agent Antidote Kit(s), Mark I injectors (or atropine if directed by a physician). Injections using the Mark I kit injectors may be repeated at 5 to 20 minute intervals if signs and symptoms are progressing until three series of injections have been administered. No more injections will be given unless directed by medical personnel. In addition, a record will be maintained of all injections given. If breathing has stopped, give artificial respiration. Mouth-to-mouth resuscitation should be used when mask-bag or oxygen delivery'systems are not available. Do not use mouth-to-mouth resuscitation when facial contamination exists. If breathing is difficult, administer oxygen. Seek medical attention Immediately.

Eye Contact: Immediately flush eyes with water for 10-15 minutes, then don respiratory protective mask. Although miosis (pinpointing of the pupils) may be an early sign of agent exposure, an injection will not be administered when miosis is the only sign present. Instead, the individual will be taken Immediately to a medical treatment facility for observation.

Skin Contact: Don respiratory protective mask and remove contaminated clothing. Immediately wash contaminated skin with copious amounts of soap and water, 10% sodium carbonate solution, or 5% liquid household bleach. Rinse well with water to remove excess decontaminant. Administer nerve agent antidote kit, Mark I, only if local sweating and muscular twitching symptoms are observed. Seek medical attention Immediately.

Ingestion: Do not induce vomiting. First symptoms are likely to be gastrointestinal. Immediately administer Nerve Agent Antidote Kit, Mark I. Seek medical attention Immediately.

Above Information Courtesy of United States Army

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