202 life-threatening bleeding cases linked to synthetic marijuana; 5 dead

The CDC issued a public warning of internal bleeding linked to synthetic marijuana containing rat poison after reporting 202 cases, including five deaths, according to a guidance the agency published May 25.

Nine state health departments reported the 202 cases and five deaths, since health officials began tracking the outbreak in March.

The majority of cases (164) were reported from Illinois. Maryland reported 20 cases, and Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin reported six or fewer cases per state.

Testing revealed the synthetic marijuana was laced with brodifacoum, a pesticide that causes severe bleeding.

The CDC recommends people avoid synthetic cannabinoids. The agency also issued a guidance that helps physicians identify and report cases and cautions high-risk patients, such those sent home from surgeries that may lead to bleeding.

To view the full guidance, click here.

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