botulinum is spore-forming
bacteria that produce a neurotoxin. The spores are heat-resistant
and can survive in foods that are incorrectly or minimally processed.
Seven types (A, B, C, D, E, F and G) of botulism are recognized.
Types A, B, E and F cause human botulism. Types C and D cause most
cases of botulism in animals. Although type G has been isolated
from soil in Argentina, no outbreaks involving it have been recognized.
borne botulism (as distinct from wound botulism and infant botulism)
is a severe food poisoning caused by the eating foods containing
the potent neurotoxin formed during growth of the bacteria. This
toxin is heat labile but can be destroyed if heated at 80°C
for 10 minutes or longer. The incidence of the disease is low, but
the disease is of considerable concern because of its high mortality
rate when not treated immediately and properly. Most outbreaks are
associated with inadequately processed, home-canned foods, but sometimes-commercial
foods are involved in outbreaks. Sausages, meat products, canned
vegetables and seafood products are most commonly involved.
bacteria and its spores are common in nature. They exist in cultivated
and forest soils, bottom sediments of streams, lakes, and coastal
waters, and in the intestinal tracts of fish and mammals, and in
the gills and viscera of crabs and other shellfish. A very small
amount (a few nanograms) of toxin can cause illness
types of botulism are recognized: food borne, infant, wound, and
a form of botulism whose classification is as yet undetermined.
Certain foods have been reported as sources of spores in cases of
infant botulism and the undetermined category; wound botulism is
not related to foods.
borne botulism (or food
borne intoxication) is caused by consuming foods containing the
neurotoxin produced by C. botulinum . Symptoms occur 18
to 36 hours after ingestion of the food with the toxin, but cases
have varied from 4 hours to 8 days. Early signs consist of marked
lassitude, weakness and vertigo, followed by double vision and progressive
difficulty in speaking and swallowing. Difficulty in breathing,
weakness of other muscles, abdominal distension, and constipation
may also be common symptoms
involved in botulism vary with food preservation and eating habits
in different regions. Any food that allows bacteria growth and toxin
production, and when processed allows spore survival, but is not
subsequently heated before consumption can be associated with botulism.
Any food that is not very acidic (pH above 4.6) will support growth
and toxin production by C. botulinum .
toxin has been found in canned corn, peppers, green beans, soups,
beets, asparagus, mushrooms, ripe olives, spinach, tuna fish, chicken
and chicken livers and liver pate, and luncheon meats, ham, sausage,
stuffed eggplant, lobster, and smoked and salted fish.
toxin causes flaccid paralysis that progresses symmetrically downward,
starting with the eyes and face, to the throat, chest and extremities.
When the diaphragm and chest muscles are involved, respiration is
inhibited and death from asphyxia occurs. Treatment for food borne
botulism includes giving botulinal antitoxin and intensive supportive.
sources during an outbreak is based on identifying toxin in the
involved food. Culturing all suspect food in an enrichment medium
to detect and isolate the causative organism, which takes 7 days,
follows this analysis.
botulism , affects babies
under 12 months of age. This is caused by the eating C. botulinum
spores, which colonize and produce toxin in the infant's intestinal
tract (intestinal toxaemia botulism Honey is the one dietary reservoir
of C. botulinum spores linked to infant botulism. Symptoms
consist of constipation occur after a period of normal development.
This is followed by poor feeding, lethargy, weakness, pooled oral
secretions, and wail or altered cry. Loss of head control is striking.
Treatment is primarily supportive care. Antibiotics are not recommended.
Demonstrating botulinal toxins and the bacteria in the infants'
stools proves infant botulism.
botulism is the rarest
form of botulism. Foods are not involved in this type of botulism.
The illness occurs when C. botulinum by itself or with
other germs infects a wound and produces toxins.
category of botulism
involves adult cases in which a specific food or wound source cannot
incident of food borne botulism MMWR
44(11):1995 Mar 24 .
type B outbreak associated with eggplant in oil MMWR
44(2):1995 Jan 20 .
botulism outbreak with salted fish MMWR
36(49):1987 Dec 18 .