Please be patient! It may take up to ONE minute to load all the Engines.
Problems? Please contact our support.
DefinitionBotulism is a rare but serious illness caused by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum . The bacterium may enter the body through wounds, or they may live in improperly canned or preserved food.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Clostridium is found in soil and untreated water throughout the world. It produces spores that survive in improperly preserved or canned food, where they produce toxin. When eaten, even minute amounts of this toxin can lead to severe poisoning.
The foods most commonly contaminated are home-canned vegetables, cured pork and ham, smoked or raw fish, and honey or corn syrup. Botulism may also occur if the organism enters open wounds and produces toxin there.
also occurs normally in the stool of some infants.
Signs and tests
Emergency hospitalization is recommended in cases of respiratory trouble. The goal of treatment is to establish a clear airway, aid breathing, give botulinus anti-toxin, and provide supportive therapy.
If breathing difficulty develops, intubation (a tube inserted through the nose or mouth into the trachea to provide an airway for oxygen) and mechanical ventilation are given. Intravenous fluids can be given while swallowing difficulties persist. Also, a feeding tube may be inserted in the nose.
Expectations (prognosis)Prompt treatment significantly reduces the risk of death.
Calling your health care providerGo to the emergency room or call the local emergency number (such as 911) if botulism food poisoning is suspected.
Update Date: 1/16/2004Daniel Levy, M.D., Ph.D., Infectious Diseases, Greater Baltimore Medical Center, Baltimore, MD. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT