March 11, 2005
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Adamsite (Diphenylaminechloroarsine or DM)
The majority of exposures occur by inhalation and typically lead to symptoms of ocular, nasal, and respiratory
tract irritation. Nonspecific gastrointestinal symptoms (e.g., vomiting or diarrhea) might also occur. The effects
of adamsite poisoning take minutes to begin and might last for hours (1). If a rapid onset of manifestations of
one of the following respiratory effects occurs, the clinical description for adamsite poisoning has been met:
nose or throat irritation, cough, or dyspnea.
Laboratory criteria for diagnosis
: No biologic marker is available for adamsite exposure.
: No method is available to detect adamsite in environmental samples.
: A case in which a potentially exposed person is being evaluated by health-care workers or public
health officials for poisoning by a particular chemical agent, but no specific credible threat exists.
Probable: A clinically compatible case in which a high index of suspicion (credible threat or patient history
regarding location and time) exists for adamsite exposure, or an epidemiologic link exists between this case
and a laboratory-confirmed case.
Confirmed: A clinically compatible case in which laboratory tests (not available for adamsite) have
The case can be confirmed if laboratory testing was not performed because either a predominant amount of
clinical and nonspecific laboratory evidence of a particular chemical was present or a 100% certainty of the
etiology of the agent is known.
Sidell FR. Riot control agents. In: Zajtchuk R, Bellamy RF, eds. Textbook of military medicine: medical
aspects of chemical and biological warfare. Washington, DC: Office of the Surgeon General at TMM
Publications, Borden Institute, Walter Reed Army Medical Center; 1997:307-24.
This document is based on CDC’s best current information. It may be updated as new information
becomes available. For more information
, or call CDC at
800-CDC-INFO (English and Spanish) or 888-232-6348 (TTY).