Botulism

Botulism is a serious illness in which flaccid paralysis of muscles occurs. It is caused by a botulinum toxin, which is a neurotoxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum.

botulism

The bacteria enter the body through wounds, or they may present in improperly canned or preserved food.

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Botulinum neurotoxin: It is a bacteria commonly found in soil and is anaerobic. Botulinum neurotoxin is most lethal toxins. Food-borne botulism is very dangerous. Even small amounts of neurotoxin-contaminated food can infect many people.

Botulinum neurotoxin paralysis the nerves by entering the nerve cells and inhibiting the release of acetylcholine as a result muscle cannot contract.

Basics:
Toxins are absorbed from the stomach and small intestine. The gastrointestinal, nervous, endocrine and metabolic systems are affected. Cranial nerves get affected first and lead to the complications of paralytic ileus, constipation, and retention of urine.
Age / Sex

It can occur in all age and sex

Is Botulism Infectious?

• Food-borne: When infection is caused by foods containing the botulinum neurotoxin it is called foodborne botulism. The source of this type is often improperly canned foods.

• Wound: It is caused by a neurotoxin that is produced by bacteria Clostridium botulinum. Some people may have botulism by inhaling the spores from cocaine.

• Infant: When the spores of the botulinum bacteria are consumed by an infant it is called infant botulism. The neurotoxin is released when the bacteria grows and multiplies in the intestine.

What Causes this illness?

The bacterium called C. botulinum is responsible for causing the illness. Bacteria commonly found in soil and are anaerobic. Botulinum neurotoxin is most lethal toxins. The bacteria grows and multiplies in the intestine.

Symptoms Appear Within 1-2 days

When the bacteria enters the body, the symptoms appear within 8-36 hours.

Symptoms in adults:
• Cramping pain in the abdomen.
• Difficulty in breathing.
• Double vision.
• The weakness with paralysis.
• Dry mouth.
• Difficulty in swallowing and speaking.
• Nausea and Vomiting.

Symptoms of infant botulism:
• Weak sucking.
• Loss of muscle tone.
• Constipation.
• The marked weakness so that baby can’t control the head.
• Respiratory distress.
• Drooling.
• Drooping of eyelids.
• Weak cry.

Any Investigations To Be Done ?

•Laboratory test is not much help in the diagnosis of this illness.
•White blood cell count and ESR rates are normal.
•Toxin of botulism is best diagnosed by examining serum, vomitus, aspirated gastric products, suspected food, and stool.

What Treatment Helps Botulism?

Antibiotics help in treating wound botulism but not in foodborne type.
Patients are given cathartics to remove toxins from ingested toxin of botulism.

Complications

Urinary tract infections can occur.
Fungal infections
On skin decubitus, the formation can occur.
Thrombophlebitis, cellulitis and line infections can occur.
Stress ulcers can occur.

Botulism Is Curable?

Treatment at the initial stage can help the patient. If delayed there will be respiratory failure.

Differential diagnosis

• Hyperthyroidism
• Mediterranean fever
• Hypermagnesemia

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