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Preventing and Fighting Botulism Infection

Botulism infection is a very serious condition with life-threatening consequences. It is a paralytic illness which affects the nervous system is a caused by a toxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. It may also caused by Clostridium butyricum or baratii. If you're concerned about Botulism symptoms or treatment, or have been the victim of a botulism infection in California through contaminated food products, then continue reading for more important information.

How is Botulism contracted?

While botulism may be caused in several ways, foodborne botulism is contracted through eating foods which contain the botulinum toxin. For infants, they can contract the disease by consuming the spores of the botulinum bacteria, which grow in the intestines and release the toxin. This may also happen to adults, although it is extremely rare.

The Clostridium botulinum family of bacteria is found in soil, and grow in low oxygen conditions. There are seven types of botulism toxin, A through G, but in humans only A, B, E and F cause illness.

For infants, botulism may be contracted through honey, home-canned vegetables and fruits or corn syrup.

For adults and older children, home-canned foods, improperly canned commercial foods, home-canned or fermented fish products, herb-infused oils, baked potatoes in aluminum foil, cheese causes, bottled garlic and foods held at warm temperatures for extended periods of time may be causes of botulism.

Common Botulism symptoms

Botulism is a severe illness which may be fatal. It is considered to be a medical emergency, and proper treatment should be found immediately.

What are the Common botulism symptoms in adults?:

  • Double or blurred vision
  • Slurred speech
  • Muscle weakness
  • Drooping eyelids
  • Difficulty swallowing, dry mouth

The symptoms appear most frequently from 18 hours to 2 days after initial contamination. However, they can occur as quick as 6 hours or as long as 10 days after contamination.

In infants, botulism symptoms include:

  • Poor feeding
  • Constipation
  • Lethargy
  • Weak cry, poor muscle tone, etc, signaling symptoms of muscle paralysis

For infants, symptoms could take between three and 30 days to appear, due to the divergent nature of the illness as described above.

Botulism Treatment & Prevention

Foodborne botulism is a public health emergency as an outbreak could poison many people in a short period of time with severe consequences.

Botulism is rare, with an average of 145 cases per year in the United States. However, as mentioned, it is extremely serious and potentially fatal. Of those annual cases, approximately 15% are foodborne.

  • Botulism prevention includes careful and thorough home canning of foods.
  • Infants should not be allowed to eat honey.
  • Refrigerate infused oils; keep baked potatoes hot until served, or refrigerated -- not warm.
  • Boiling home-canned foods will destroy the botulinum toxin.

Diagnosis for botulism can be a difficult process as several diseases present similar initial symptoms for physicians. Special tests may be done to eliminate alternative causes - including spinal fluid examination, brain scan or nerve conduction tests. State health department laboratories or the DCD can perform direct tests for the botulinum toxin and bacteria.

Botulism treatment includes potential usage of a ventilator for weeks or months to deal with respiratory failure and paralysis, intensive medical and nursing care, and so forth. The condition slowly improves. Long term care and therapy may be needed.

Antitoxins can be administered to block the action of the toxin in your blood, and will prevent condition from worsening and shorten recovery time.

For foodborne paralysis, doctors may remove contaminated food in the system through induced vomiting or enemas if they believe it to still be present in the system.

With proper medical knowledge and treatment, fatality rates for botulism infection have decreased from 50% to between 3 and 5% in the past 50 years. This is a great improvement but unfortunately it still demonstrates the severity of the illness, and the great importance of seeking immediate medical assistance.

Unfortunately, foodborne botulism infection not only has severe consequences, but occurs from improper handling of products during manufacture or at retail.

If you or a loved one have been the victim of a botulism infection, then do not hesitate to call us. We'll provide you with a free consultation and evaluate your case for the best course of action, enabling you to receive proper compensation and justice for undue suffering and pain.

Did you or a loved one become ill as the result of botulism? If you were exposed to botulism bacteria through contaminated food and you believe you are the victim of someone elses negligence, you might have a personal injury case.

Contact Bisnar Chase today at 949-203-3814 for a Free, No-Hassle, No-Obligation, Legal Case Consultation.

1301 Dove Street Newport Beach, CA 92660

Related Resources

Other Types of Food Poisoning


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