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Toxicology Rounds: Books Closed, Pencils Ready Our Fifth Annual Tox Quiz

Gussow, Leon, MD

doi: 10.1097/01.EEM.0000529868.15647.30
Toxicology Rounds

Dr. Gussowis a voluntary attending physician at the John H. Stroger Hospital of Cook County in Chicago, an assistant professor of emergency medicine at Rush Medical College, a consultant to the Illinois Poison Center, and a lecturer in emergency medicine at the University of Illinois Medical Center in Chicago. Read his blog, follow him on Twitter @poisonreview, and read his past columns at



OK, class, it's time for our annual quiz about tox-related stories in the news over the past year. This test is not part of your Maintenance of Certification process, but it will become part of your permanent record. Good luck!

  1. Kim Jong-nam, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, was assassinated with the nerve agent VX in which airport?
    1. Bandaranaike, Sri Lanka
    2. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
    3. Ninoy Aquino, The Philippines
    4. Suvarnabhumi, Thailand
  2. The staff at the Maples Overdose Prevention Site in Vancouver, BC, used naloxone to resuscitate a household pet named Snuggles, who was brought in after eating a stash of heroin off a table. Snuggles is a:
    1. cat.
    2. dog.
    3. ferret.
    4. mouse.
  3. During the flooding from Hurricane Harvey, Houston residents were warned not to touch floating:
    1. coral snakes.
    2. fire ant colonies.
    3. hornet nests.
    4. scorpions.
  4. German police in August seized thousands of orange MDMA (ecstasy) tablets shaped in the likeness of:
    1. Angela Merkel.
    2. Donald Trump.
    3. Ronald Reagan.
    4. Theresa May.
  5. After one person died and seven others became ill, the Attorney General of Justice of the Mexican State of Baja California warned tourists about bottles of 7Up laced with:
    1. arsenic.
    2. mercury.
    3. methamphetamine.
    4. thallium.
  6. A California woman died after ingesting tea purchased in San Francisco's Chinatown. Prior to death, she experienced weakness and life-threatening abnormal heart rhythms. An investigation revealed that the tea contained:
    1. aconite.
    2. digoxin.
    3. oleander.
    4. potassium.
  7. News stories in 2017 reported research on using the psychedelic beverage ayahuasca to treat conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and anorexia nervosa. The active ingredient in ayahuasca is:
    1. dimethyltryptamine (DMT).
    2. ecstasy (MDMA).
    3. MDA.
    4. U-47700.
  8. Authorities in Ohio seized 400 pounds of marijuana hidden in:
    1. air conditioning units.
    2. barrels of corn meal.
    3. Ford Fusion sedans.
    4. piñatas.
  9. The Australian federal police arrested two men in Sydney who were accused of planning to assemble a bomb that would disperse the poisonous gas:
    1. chlorine.
    2. cyanide.
    3. hydrogen sulfide.
    4. phosgene.
  10. Researchers at the British Library suggested that the death of novelist Jane Austen in 1817 at age 41 might have been due to poisoning by:
    1. aconite.
    2. arsenic.
    3. mercury.
    4. thallium.
  11. A deadly illness affected children in Muzaffarpur, India, in May. Previously healthy victims would wake up with a high-pitched cry, seize, and become comatose. Almost half died. A 2017 paper in The Lancet Global Health identified the cause as a toxin in:
    1. ackee fruit.
    2. cassava root.
    3. Lathyrus sativus (India pea).
    4. lychees.
  12. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that two people in Florida receive rabies prophylaxis after they found a dead bat in a:
    1. bunch of bananas.
    2. can of soda.
    3. jar of pickles.
    4. packaged salad mix.
  13. Scientists at Massachusetts General Hospital found that an antidote for cyanide poisoning might be derived from which cancer drug?
    1. Busulfan
    2. Cisplatin
    3. Doxorubicin
    4. Fluorouracil
  14. A U.S. Food and Drug Administration investigation into the deaths of 10 children found that some homeopathic teething tablets and gels contained high levels of:
    1. belladonna.
    2. benzocaine.
    3. cyanide.
    4. lidocaine.
  15. Sacramento, CA, health officials traced an outbreak of botulism that hospitalized at least five people to:
    1. gas station nacho cheese.
    2. homemade Vichyssoise.
    3. preserved tomatoes.
    4. unpasteurized honey.


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1. B. 2. D. 3. B. 4. B. 5. C. 6. A. 7. A. 8. C. 9. C. 10. B. 11. D. 12. D. 13. B. 14. A. 15. A.

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