Giant hogweed warning: Virginia teen sustains burns

14 Juillet, 2018, 02:09 | Auteur: Yves Courtet
  • Alex Childress

"Alex continued working throughout the day once he got it on his face", Justin told WTVR.

Giant Hogweed is an invasive plant that can cause third-degree burns and permanent blindness now found in Virginia, according to researchers at the Massey Herbarium at Virginia Tech.

Alex Childress, 17, said he was working at his summer landscaping job Tuesday when he came in contact with the plant. As for Childress, he wound up being transported from Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center to VCU Medical Center's Evans-Haynes Burn Center to get proper treatment for the burns.

He said the samples he had observed were most likely planted over the years, often for decorative or ornamental purposes.

The Spotsylvania High graduate suffered burns on his face and his arm. "I'm feeling better", he told WWBT.

Jordan Metzgar, curator at the Massey Herbarium at Virginia Tech, told the Times-Dispatch that giant hogweed have been spotted around Virginia, adding that the plant was not spreading like in NY and other Northern states. "I'm hoping that scholarship will still be available for me", he said.

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"Everyone has been really supportive", Childress said.

As for his advice about the plant.

In Virginia, giant hogweed is classified as a Tier 1 noxious weed, requiring that "no person shall move, transport, deliver, ship, or offer for shipment into or within the Commonwealth any noxious weed" without a permit. The invasive plant, which was first spotted in the U.S.in 1917, produces toxic sap that can cause severe irritation when skin is exposed to sunlight.

It can grow up to 14 feet tall and is identifiable by its deceptively pretty white flower clusters.

A month after officials in Virginia warned about the dangers of an invasive plant commonly known as giant hogweed, a teen has sustained burns that will leave him sensitive to the light for months, WWBT reports. They want to ultimately eradicate the plant before it becomes established in the state.

A spokeswoman for the hospital said Childress is the first patient to be treated at the burn center for an encounter with Giant Hogweed.

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