Infectious agent: Ricinus communis (castor bean)
Description of illness: A poison found naturally in castor beans or from the leftover waste of castor bean processing. Symptoms depend on route of exposure and dosage and initial symptoms typically occur in less than 10 hours. Inhalation symptoms include respiratory distress, nausea and fluid building in lungs. Ingestion symptoms are vomiting, diarrhea, and blood in urine. The poison can take the form of powder, mist, a pellet or can be dissolved in water. Exposure to ricin is highly unlikely, but the poison can be used as a biological weapon.