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Giant Hogweed Plant That Can Cause Blindness Found in Va.

Giant Hogweed Plant That Can Cause Blindness Found in Va.
(Ruud Morijn/Dreamstime.com)

By    |   Monday, 18 June 2018 06:30 PM

A giant hogweed plant, which can reportedly cause burns and even blindness, was discovered in Virginia.

The plant, the name of which sounds like something from a Harry Potter book, grows in the wild and merely touching it can give someone serious third-degree burns.

Officials in eastern Virginia’s Isle of Wight County posted a safety alert bulletin on its Facebook page warning residents that if they come across one to to avoid contact with the plant.

“Until recently there have been no confirmed cases of Giant Hogweed in the Commonwealth of Virginia. However, there have been reports from VDOT of sightings of Giant Hogweed in the Staunton area and Middlesex County. There is a strong possibility that the Giant Hogweed could find it’s [sic] way into the Tidewater/Coastal Virginia area,” the advisory said.

“If you come into contact with giant hogweed: Skin reactions vary, but phytophotodermatitis can occur, meaning the sap makes the skin so sensitive to sunlight that sever burns can occur from normal exposure to sun. Symptoms include painful blisters, which become darkly pigmented and can cause scars. Your skin can remain sensitive to sunlight for many years after exposure as well. And, if the sap gets in your eyes, there is the potential for blindness.”

CBS News reported that the giant hogweed can be found in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland, Oregon, Washington, Michigan, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.

When the plant was spotted in New York, the state health department recommended that those exposed to the plant cleanse the affected area with cold water and remain out of sunlight.

"Do not mow, cut or weed whack the plant, as it will just send up new growth and put you at risk for being exposed to sap – the same kind of thing that would happen with poison ivy or sumac,” the New York advisory said.

“Seek advice from professional plant control specialists about management options. If you must touch giant hogweed, wear disposable rubber gloves, a long-sleeved shirt and pants. If you get sap on your clothes, carefully remove the clothing to avoid skin and eye contact and wash separately from other clothing with warm water and detergent."

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A giant hogweed plant, which sounds like something from a Harry Potter book, was discovered in Virginia. Giant hogweed grows in the wild and merely touching it can give someone serious third-degree burns — and blindness.
giant hogweed, plant, virginia
362
2018-30-18
Monday, 18 June 2018 06:30 PM
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