Eleven Seattle gay bars in the US have received anonymous letters threatening attacks on their patrons with the toxin ricin.

The letters read:

“I have in my possession approximately 67 grams of ricin with which I will indiscriminately target at least five of your clients… I expect them to die painfully while in hospital.”

Another letter sent to the newspaper The Stranger says that the publication should prepare “to announce the deaths of approximately 55 individuals.”

Seattle police say that they are taking the threat seriously and are working with the FBI in their investigation.

Ricin is a poison that is extracted from castor beans. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control only around 500 micrograms are needed for an exposure to be lethal if inhaled or injected.

There is no antidote and survivors face long-term organ damage.

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