A FELLOW of IPEM has spoken about the symptoms of nerve agents as police confirmed one was used to try and murder a former Russian spy and his daughter.
Sergei and Yulia Skripal were found unconscious in Salisbury on Sunday afternoon and remain critically ill. A police officer who was the first to attend the scene is now in a serious condition in hospital.
Mark Rowley, Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner for Special Operations, said government scientists had identified the agent used but added police were not making that information public at this stage in the investigation.
Mr Rowley said: ‘This is being treated as a major incident involving attempted murder, by administration of a nerve agent. Having established that a nerve agent is the cause of the symptoms... I can also confirm that we believe that the two people who became unwell were targeted specifically.’
He added there was no evidence of a widespread health risk to the public.
Professor Malcolm Sperrin, a Fellow of the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine, told the BBC: ‘Symptoms of exposure to nerve agents may include respiratory arrest, heart failure, twitching or spasms - anything where the nerve control is degraded.
‘Nerve agents can cause death, but not necessarily at low-level exposure or with a minor dose.’
Two other police officers who attended the scene were treated in hospital for minor symptoms, before they were given the all clear. It is understood their symptoms included itchy eyes and wheezing.
The poisoning of Mr Skripal and his daughter has chilling echoes of the murder of ex-KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko in London in 2006, who was killed by polonium-laced tea.
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