Home » Topic » Botulism
 

 
What is botulism?
What are the causes?
What are the symptoms?
How is it diagnosed?
What is the treatment?
What is the prognosis?
What are the complications?
What is the prevention?
 
Tue,08 Jul 2003 05:30:00 +0530
Written by : DoctorNDTV Team
Checked by :
 
  • What is botulism?
    Tue,08 Jul 2003 05:30:00
    Botulism is a serious paralytic illness caused by a nerve toxin that is produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. The bacteria may enter the body by ingestion of improperly canned or preserved food or through wounds.
  • What are the causes?
    Tue,08 Jul 2003 05:30:00
    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, pork, smoked or raw fish, and honey. Botulism may also occur if the organism enters open wounds and produces toxin there.

    There are three main kinds of botulism:
    1. Foodborne botulism is caused by eating foods that contain the botulism toxin.
    2. Wound botulism is caused by toxin produced from a wound infected with Clostridium botulinum.
    3. Infant botulism is caused by consuming the spores of the botulinum bacteria, which then grow in the intestines and release toxin. The most common cause of infant botulism is from the ingestion of honey. Clostridium also occurs normally in the stool of some infants.

      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 contaminated food.
  • What are the symptoms?
    Tue,08 Jul 2003 05:30:00
    • difficulty swallowing and speaking
    • progressive weakness with paralysis
    • nausea, vomiting
    • abdominal cramps
    • dry mouth
    • double vision
    • breathing difficulty that may lead to respiratory failure
      no fever, usually
    In infants: constipation, weakness, loss of muscle tone, weak cry, poor feeding and weak sucking, respiratory distress may occur.
    Symptoms usually appear between 8 to 36 hours after consuming contaminated food, but they can occur as early as 6 hours or as late as 10 days.
  • How is it diagnosed?
    Tue,08 Jul 2003 05:30:00
    The tests may include a brain scan, spinal fluid examination, nerve conduction test (electromyography, or EMG), and a tensilon test for myasthenia gravis. The most direct way to confirm the diagnosis is to demonstrate the botulinum toxin in the patient's serum or stool by injecting serum or stool into mice and looking for signs of botulism. The bacteria can also be isolated from the stool of persons with foodborne and infant botulism.
  • What is the treatment?
    Tue,08 Jul 2003 05:30:00
    The respiratory failure and paralysis that occur with severe botulism may require a patient to be on a breathing machine (ventilator) for weeks, in addition to intensive medical and nursing care. After several weeks, the paralysis slowly improves. If diagnosed early, foodborne and wound botulism can be treated with an antitoxin blocks that the action of toxin circulating in the blood. This can prevent patients from worsening, but recovery still takes many weeks. Physicians may try to remove contaminated food still in the gut by inducing vomiting or by using enemas. Wounds should be treated, usually surgically, to remove the source of the toxin-producing bacteria. Good supportive care in a hospital is the mainstay of therapy for all forms of botulism. Currently, antitoxin is not routinely given for treatment of infant botulism.
  • What is the prognosis?
    Tue,08 Jul 2003 05:30:00
    Prompt treatment significantly reduces the risk of death.
  • What are the complications?
    Tue,08 Jul 2003 05:30:00
    Botulism can result in death due to respiratory failure. However, in the past 50 years the proportion of patients with botulism who die has fallen significantly. A patient with severe botulism may require a breathing machine as well as intensive medical and nursing care for several months. Patients who survive an episode of botulism poisoning may have fatigue and shortness of breath for years and long-term therapy may be needed to aid recovery.
  • What is the prevention?
    Tue,08 Jul 2003 05:30:00
    Botulism can be prevented. Foodborne botulism has often been from home-canned foods with low acid content, such green beans, beets and corn. However, outbreaks of botulism from more unusual sources such as chopped garlic in oil, peppers, tomatoes, improperly handled baked potatoes wrapped in aluminum foil, and home-canned or fermented fish. Oils infused with garlic or herbs should be refrigerated. Potatoes which have been baked while wrapped in aluminum foil should be kept hot until served or refrigerated. Because the botulism toxin is destroyed by high temperatures, persons who eat home-canned foods should consider boiling the food for 10 minutes before eating it to ensure safety. Because honey can contain spores of Clostridium botulinum and this has been a source of infection for infants, children less than 12 months old should not be fed honey. Honey is safe for persons 1 year of age and older. Wound botulism can be prevented by promptly seeking medical care for infected wounds and by not using injectable drugs.

................... Advertisement ...................

   

FAQ

ASK OUR EXPERTS

Using 0 of 1024 Possible characters
Choose Topic

Latest stories

Swine Flu Kills 11 In Nagpur, 4 In Indore: Tips To Prevent Swine Flu

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 17:00:13 IST
As many as 11 people died of swine flu in the Nagpur division in the past two days, taking the death toll 73 for the year, whereas four deaths were reported in Indore in a matter of past 24 hours.

Breathing Dirty Air May Lead To Kidney Failure: Study

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 16:00:58 IST
Air pollution may increase the risk of chronic kidney disease, which can lead to the failure of the organ, a study has warned.

Sexual Touch At An Early Age May Lead To Early Puberty

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 15:00:02 IST
German researchers found that women who were touched on their genitals at a young age experience changes in their brain and that touch triggers puberty.

Moderate Physical Activity For A Healthy Heart, Longer Life

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 14:00:23 IST
A recent study concludes that 1 in every 12 global deaths could be prevented, if all of us adhered to at-least 30 minutes of exercise each day, or 2.5 hours in week. Read on to know moderate exercising could help prevent heart disease and help you live longer.

11 Infants Being Treated For The E-Coli Infection At PGIMER

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 13:00:42 IST
The PGIMER (Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research) battles against the outbreak of E-Coli infection in its Neonatal ICU. 1 infants are getting treatment for this infection at the moment, hospital sources reveal.