What You Should Know About BOTULISM
WHAT IS BOTULISM?
Botulism is caused by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. This bacterium produces a toxin called botulinum that affects the nerves and paralyzes muscles. This syndrome is called botulism. There are three main types of botulism:
- Foodborne botulism occurs when a person swallows something containing the toxin, and leads to illness within a few hours or days. Usually symptoms appear 12-36 hours after swallowing the toxin, but symptoms may begin anywhere from six hours to two weeks.
- Infant botulism occurs in a small number of susceptible babies yearly. For unknown reasons the bacteria is able to grow in their intestines. Infants with botulism appear lethargic, eat poorly, are constipated, have a weak cry and poor muscle tone.
- Wound botulism is caused by the growth of botulism bacteria in a sore. The bacteria in the sore secrete the toxin that causes botulism. In the United States this syndrome is seen almost exclusively in injection drug users.