A group of military nurses are reviewing the care of victims of biochemical terrorist attacks. The nurses should identify what agents as having the shortest latency?

Answer Explanation: Latency is the time from absorption to the appearance of signs and symptoms. Sulfur mustards and pulmonary agents have the longest latency, whereas vesicants, nerve agents, and cyanide produce signs and symptoms within seconds.

A patient has been exposed to a nerve agent in a biochemical terrorist attack. This type of agent bonds with acetylcholinesterase, so that acetylcholine is not inactivated. What is the pathologic effect of this type of agent?

Answer Explanation: Nerve agents can be inhaled or absorbed percutaneously or subcutaneously. These agents bond with acetylcholinesterase, so that acetylcholine is not inactivated; the adverse result is continuous stimulation (hyperstimulation) of the nerve endings. Nerve endings are not deactivated, bound, or destroyed.

The emergency response team is dealing with a radiation leak at the hospital. What action should be performed to prevent the spread of the contaminants?

Answer Explanation: All air ducts and vents must be sealed to prevent spread. Waste is controlled through double-bagging and the use of plastic-lined containers outside of the facility rather than incineration. Bleach would be ineffective against radiation and the ventilation system may or may not be deactivated.