June 2004 
Volume 34  Number 6
Pages 74 - 74
  PDF Version Available!


  • How C. botulinum causes disease

  • Identifying signs and symptoms

  • How to intervene


    A ROD-SHAPED, spore-producing, anaerobic bacterium, Clostridium botulinum releases a nerve toxin (type A, B, E, or F) that causes human botulism, a paralytic illness. The bacterium is found in soil, dust, untreated water, and improperly preserved food.

    Among the 110 cases of naturally occurring botulism reported each year on average in the United States, 72% are infant botulism, 25% are foodborne botulism, and 3% are wound botulism. Inhalation botulism, which doesn't occur naturally, results from the intentional release of aerosolized botulinum toxin. All forms of botulism are emergencies.

    How C. botulinum causes disease

    Infant botulism, also called intestinal botulism, occurs when a child (usually under age 1) ingests C. botulinum spores, typically from honey ...

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