Botulism is the rare and fatal illness caused by the toxin from a bacteria called Clostridium botulinum.

  • Botulism can be very fatal and requires the emergency.
  • The route of entrance is through contaminated food, soil, or an open wound.
  • If not treated on time botulism can lead to paralysis, respiratory disorders, musculoskeletal problems, psychological disorders and death.

Types of Botulism

There are mainly three types of botulism-
  1. Infant botulism
  2. Foodborne botulism
  3. Wound botulism
According to the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention about thousands of botulism cases are reported every year all over the world.


Symptoms of botulism can appear from 10 to 12 days after the initial infection but symptoms of infants and foodborne appears early within the 2-3 days after the eating contaminated food.

Symptoms of infant botulism-

  • abdominal cramps
  • vomiting
  • headache
  • Constipation
  • difficulty in breathing
  • irritability
  • drooling
  • weakness
  • lethargy
  • nausea

Symptoms of foodborne and wound botulism-

  • shortness of breathing
  • difficulty in swallowing
  • speech difficulty
  • facial muscle weakness
  • blurred weakness
  • abdominal pain
  • cramps
  • paralysis
  • loss of sensation
  • burning pain
  • tingling sensation

Causes of Botulism-

About more than 70% cases of botulism are of infants and in the kids below 10 years old. The bacteria enters through the food contaminated by soil, or the substances (honey and corn) that have spores of botulism.
In adults the immune system is strong, so the toxin produced by the bacteria is not so harmful for them and can be cleared or killed in the intestine.
But in infants and the kids, the intestine is not so strong to fight against the pathogen and causes the symptoms early.

 The food substances which can have spores of botulism are-
  • Fish pickle
  • fermented or salted fish
  • meat products
  • mushrooms
  • mussels
  • green beans

Diagnosis of Botulism-

 The early diagnosis of botulism is essential for the survival of the life.
  1. Physical examination- vitals, wound, infection
  2. History of food eaten last 2-3 days
  3. Blood test
  4. Stool test
  5. X-ray of chest
  6. Ultrasonography
  7. EMG

Treatment of botulism-

The treatment of botulism is dependent on the diagnosis of the person according to the severity of the symptoms and the poison.


Antitoxins, neurotoxins
Respiratory support- ventilatory treatment

Prognosis of the botulism is depend upon the toxins produced in the body and the treatment provided on the emergency bases.

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