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Botulism an Illness Caused by Clostridium Botulinum Bacteria

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Botulism is an illness caused by a toxin produced by Clostridium botulinum bacteria. The bacteria that causes botulism can be naturally present in the environment, usually within the soil. Surprisingly, the bacteria alone do not cause botulism, the bacteria produce spores, this provides a special cover for the bacteria. The spores are what can grow and produce the toxin that causes botulism. Conditions that help spores grow and make toxins are low-oxygen, low acid, low sugar, and low salt. Home canning if not done properly can lead to botulism.

Botulism mainly falls into five different kinds: foodborne, wound, infant, adult intestinal toxemia, and iatrogenic. Symptoms associated with botulism are a double or blurred vision, drooping eyelids, slurred speech, difficulty swallowing, a thick-feeling tongue, dry mouth, and muscle weakness. In infants, the symptoms may include poor feeding, diminished suckling, decreased crying ability, poor muscle tone, constipation, and respiratory failure. The illness, if left untreated may lead to paralysis of the respiratory muscle, arms, and legs.

Ingesting food contaminated with botulism toxin could cause foodborne botulism. Symptom from foodborne botulism can begin as appear within six hours, or may be delayed up to ten days later. Some signs and symptoms from this illness may include abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Ingesting honey before the age of one can result in botulism for infants. Some cases of infant botulism can be from the ingestion of infected dust or soil.

Wound botulism is more prevalent amongst IV drug abusers, such as those who use black tar heroin. Signs and symptoms of wound botulism may include: redness, swelling and pain to the area, warm or hot to touch, pus or other drainages. This type of infection is usually accompanied with fever. These symptoms can be parallel with other infectious wounds. Anyone with these symptoms should seek medical care even if botulism is not suspected.

Iatrogenic botulism can happen if a patient is injected with excessive amounts of botulinum toxin. The injections are given for such cosmetic treatment as wrinkles. These toxins are also used in medical treatment, such as for migraine headaches. The toxins are also used in many other avenues of the medical field. Botulism is a serious and potentially dangerous toxin; some doctors are finding ways for the patient to benefit from such toxins.

Botulism is frequently misdiagnosed for other diseases of the central nervous system. Initial diagnosis is usually made by clinical symptoms only to be confirmed later by a lab test.

The diagnosis can be confirmed by lab test confirming the botulism toxin, such test may include testing the stool or foods involved. Other

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