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Botulism

Botulism is a rare but serious paralytic illness caused by a nerve toxin botulin that is produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum . Foodborne botulism is caused by eating foods that contain the botulism toxin. Maybe you've had fruits or vegetables that someone picked from the garden in the summer and jarred so they could be eaten during the winter months. There are three main kinds of botulism. There are three types of botulism food wound and infant botulism. It often involves improperly processed home canned foods. Botulism in infants under one year of age has been associated with the intake of contaminated honey. Wound botulism occurs when Clostridium botulinum spores contaminate a wound and produce toxin. It typically strikes between the ages of 6 weeks and 6 months. Babies may take these bacteria, often in spore form, into their systems after they eat contaminated foods or come in contact with soil containing the bacteria's spores. In the United States an average of 110 cases of botulism are reported each year. All forms of botulism can be fatal and are considered medical emergencies. Foodborne botulism can be especially dangerous because many people can be poisoned by eating a contaminated food.

Human botulism is a serious but relatively rare disease. Wound botulism is caused by toxin produced from a wound infected with Clostridium botulinum. You can't see, smell, or taste this bacteria, but it releases a poison, also called a toxin . This toxin travels through the blood to attach to the nerves that control muscles. Six hours to 8 days after eating contaminated food, the person may get sick. The bacterium can survive short periods of heating at up to 100 C. In its most resistant spore form it can survive boiling for 2 hours. Unfortunately, Clostridium botulinum is what is known as an anaerobic bacterium ; it lives, reproduces itself and produces its toxin most effectively under condition of very low oxygen levels - the conditions present in canned and bottled food preparations. Botulism is mainly a foodborne intoxication but it can also be transmitted through wound infections or intestinal infection in infants.

Causes of Botulism

The common Causes of Botulism :

  • Botulism is caused by eating foods that contain the botulism poison.
  • Infant botulism is not transmitted from person to person.
  • Honey consumption in infants.
  • High-risk foods include home-canned or home-processed low-acid fruits and vegetables; fish and fish products; and condiments, such as relish and chili peppers.
  • However, cases have also occurred from chili peppers, oil infused with garlic and baked potatoes.
  • A wound becomes infected with the bacteria (rare in the US). The toxin then travels to other parts of the body through the bloodstream.
  • IV drug use (rare).

Symptoms of Botulism

Some Symptoms of Botulism :

  • Difficulty swallowing and speaking.
  • Nausea, vomiting.
  • Abdominal cramps.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Double vision.
  • Facial weakness.
  • Trouble breathing.
  • Paralysis.
  • Breathing difficulty
  • No fever usually

Treatment of Botulism

  • The goal of botulism treatment is to establish a clear airway aid breathing give botulinus anti-toxin and provide supportive therapy.
  • In the case of botulism patients should be hospitalized immediately and regularly monitored.
  • Drugs that increase the amount of acetylcholine such as pyridostigmine may be given.
  • Patients suffering from wound botulism should receive equine antibiotics such as penicillin. If you're having trouble breathing, you will probably need to use a ventilator.
  • Each case of the disease is a potential public health emergency.
  • If diagnosed early, food borne and wound illness can be treated with an antitoxin. The antitoxin blocks the action of toxin circulating in the blood. This can prevent patients from worsening. Complete recovery may still take many weeks.

 


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