What Is Botulism?

Q:
What is botulism?

A:
Botulism is a serious disease caused by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. It releases a poison that attacks your nervous system.

Although botulism is rare, it’s considered a medical emergency and can even threaten your life.

What are the types of botulism?

  • Foodbourne botulism: when someone eats food contaminated with bacteria.
  • Wound botulism: when the bacteria enters an open wound.
  • Infant botulism: when an infant ingests the spores of the botulinum bacteria.
  • Adult intestinal botulism: when an adult ingests the spores of the botulinum bacteria.
  • Inhalation botulism: when someone breathes in the toxin. It occurs when some nations have tried to make biological weapons.

No matter what kind of botulism, the symptoms are usually similar, including:

  • Weakness that starts on both sides of your face and then to the rest of your body
  • Double or blurred vision
  • Drooping eyelids
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Slurred speech
  • Shortness of breath

See your doctor if you show any symptoms above. Otherwise, it will lead to paralysis of your arms and legs or, even more serious conditions.

 

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* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.