Following the recent nerve agent poisonings in the United Kingdom, the emergency response community has requested information and advice to enhance preparedness. The US Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, Department of Homeland Security’s Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office, and Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Office of Emergency Medical Services have prepared the document, “Nerve Agent Information for Emergency Medical Services and Hospitals” which serves as a refresher on standard protocols for recognizing, treating, and protecting oneself from nerve agent exposures. The document also compares and contrasts the clinical effects of nerve agents and opioids as an aid to distinguishing nerve agent exposure from the prevalent opioid overdose cases. Comprehensive follow-up guidance incorporating lessons learned from the United Kingdom incidents will be forthcoming.
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