What is Botulism?
(Symptoms, Causes & Treatment)
According to the Centers for Disease Control, Botulism is a rare but serious paralytic illness caused by a nerve toxin that is produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum and sometimes by strains of Clostridium butyricum and Clostridium baratii.
There are five main kinds of botulism:
- Foodborne botulism is caused by eating foods that contain the botulinum toxin. The most frequent source is home-canned foods, prepared in an unsafe manner.
- Wound botulism is caused by toxin produced from a wound infected with Clostridium botulinum. Injection drug users are at increased risk for wound botulism.
- Infant botulism is caused by consuming the spores of the botulinum bacteria, which then grow in the intestines and release toxin.
- Adult intestinal toxemia (adult intestinal colonization) botulism is a very rare kind of botulism that occurs among adults by the same route as infant botulism.
- Iatrogenic botulism can occur from accidental overdose of botulinum toxin.
Signs and symptoms of botulism may include:
- double vision
- blurred vision
- drooping eyelids
- slurred speech
- difficulty swallowing
- dry mouth
- muscle weakness
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