Botulism 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 and risks
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. Infant botulism is a special type in which living bacteria or its spores are ingested and grow within the infantís gastrointestinal tract. The most common cause of infant botulism is from the ingestion of honey or corn syrup.
Note: Symptoms usually appear between 8 to 36 hours after consuming contaminated food.
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,
naso-gastric (feeding through a tube inserted in the nose) feeding may be