Botulism - Frequently Asked Questions

Dr. Lakshmi Venkataraman
Medically Reviewed by Dr. Lakshmi Venkataraman, MD
Last Updated on Jun 18, 2018
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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Which doctors should I consult for botulism?

You should consult your family physician when you notice symptoms of muscle weakness. You may be referred to the emergency department for further evaluation.

2. Identify which food is favourable for Clostridium botulinum growth?

Clostridium botulinum is found in fermented, preserved, low acid, low sugar, or canned food that is not stored well.

3.What is BOTOX?

BOTOX is a sterilized form of botulinum toxin type A. It is used to treat blepharospasm, strabismus, and facial spasms and to make the face wrinkle free and smooth.

4. What is botulism commonly misdiagnosed as?

Botulism symptoms may be misdiagnosed as stroke, myasthenia gravis, opium overdose, or Guillain-Barré syndrome.

5. What happens when botulinum antitoxin is administered late?

Prolonged stay in the hospital, respiratory failure due to progressive paralysis of the respiratory muscles, and death are observed on delayed treatment of patients with botulinum antitoxin.

6. Can botulism be referred to as food poisoning?

One type of botulism occurs due to contaminated food and hence causes food poisoning.

7. Who stands at risk to be affected with botulism?

Drug users and infants below one year, are most at risk of being affected with botulism.

8. How is botulism transmitted?

Botulism develops when inactive spores of Clostridium botulinum bacteria find their way into low-oxygen environments, such as infected stools, improperly stored and preserved food, or through injection sites used for recreational drugs. These spores thrive in the new environment releasing toxins and cause botulism.

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