Skunk odor used in biological attack

A new form of chemical attack has been used on a prominent politician in the European city of Luxembourg.

The politician complained of a pungent smell at both her home and her office that was so bad that those who encountered it were afflicted with serious nausea and vomiting.

After authorities were notified, an investigation by police revealed small, oily drops of liquid in several locations. Samples taken from a letter box at the politician's office, the front door of her home and from her car were taken as well as urine samples from anyone with symptoms.

The samples were processed by the National Laboratory of Health - Toxicology at the University of Luxembourg. No volatile toxic compounds were detected to explain the symptoms presented and a comprehensive drug screen came up negative.

A series of sulphur containing compounds were detected from swabs of the liquid that revealed that the substance could be biological in origin. Several of the compounds were the same as those found in skunk odor and commercial skunk odor products meant to deter animals from gardens.

Long term exposure to skunk odor can cause loss of renal function, anemia and mouth ulcers. In the short term, it can cause vomiting, diarrhea, convulsion and shock.

Skunk odor is not fatal and disperse within a short period of time, though the smell can linger for several days in enclosed areas.

This use of a natural animal product as a biological or chemical weapon to incite fear and sickness heralds a new method that could be used by bioterrorists that could potentially be used to incite a riot or simply create fear.