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Why is Botulism a rare yet dangerous disease?

By Anand Dubey November 19, 2021

Why is Botulism a rare yet dangerous disease?

Botulism or "botulism poisoning" is a very serious disease that is a rare disease spreading through contaminated soil, open wounds and food items. If this disease is not treated in time, then it can lead to epilepsy and respiratory diseases in the person that can be fatal in many cases.

Types of Botulism

There are three main types of botulism disease which are as follows-

Foodborne botulism (botulism spread through food items)

There is a lack of oxygen in the food kept in the box for a long time. As a result, the bacteria in that box release some poisonous chemicals in the food, which prove to be injurious to health. This is called foodborne botulism.

Symptoms of Food borne botulism

  • Trouble swallowing or speaking.
  • Feeling of dryness in the mouth.
  • Difficulty in breathing.
  • Abdominal pain.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Loss of control of facial muscles.
  • Having blurred or double vision.
  • Falling of the eyelids.
  • Epilepsy etc.

Causes of food borne botulism

The main cause of foodborne botulism is canned food and other substances in which there is a lack of oxygen. These include foods like green beans, corn and beet etc. Apart from this, this disease can also be caused by chilli and garlic oil. In this way, when a person eats food affected by chemicals, he creates a blockage in his digestive system which causes epilepsy and other defects.

Foodborne botulism prevention

  • Cook food thoroughly at 250 F(121C) for 30 minutes before packaging.
  • If the food that is put in the box starts to smell or rot, then do not consume that food.
  • Keep the garlic containing food in the refrigerator.

Infant botulism (botulism in children)

This is the most common type of botulism. It begins due to the growth of Clostridium botulinum (the bacterium that causes botulism) in the baby's intestinal tract. When the baby is 2 to 8 months old, the chances of spread are slightly higher.

Symptoms of Infant botulism

  • Constipation (which is usually the first symptom).
  • Difficulty drinking milk.
  • To be irritable.
  • Excessive sputum from the mouth.
  • Feeling too tired.
  • Loss of control over your movements due to muscle weakness.
  • Difficulty controlling the head.
  • Crying in a low voice.
  • Falling of the eyelids.
  • Epilepsy etc.

Causes of Infant botulism

Infant botulism is caused by honey or soil contaminated with bacteria. In this way, after consuming the bacteria, this bacteria develops in the intestinal tract of children and emits harmful chemicals.

Infant botulism prevention

To protect children from infant botulism, do not give them honey.

Wound botulism (botulism spread through wounds)

When bacteria get into an open wound, the risk of serious infection increases. It can also spread toxic chemicals. This is called wound botulism.

Symptoms of Wound botulism

  • Difficulty in breathing.
  • Difficulty swallowing and speaking.
  • Having blurred or double vision.
  • Loss of muscle control on both sides of the face.
  • Falling of the eyelids.
  • Epilepsy etc.

Causes of Wound botulism

Wound botulism is more common in people who take drugs such as heroin (a drug that is more likely to contain this bacteria) because when it comes in contact with a wound, these bacteria grow and spread and release chemicals.

Prevention methods of Wound botulism

To avoid wound botulism and other blood diseases, stay away from things like drugs.

Treatment of Botulism

Medicines and surgery-

During infant botulism, doctors recommend medicines to clean the digestive system due to which the person may vomit and his bowel movements increase. Apart from this, if the person has botulism in the wound, sometimes the affected tissue of the person may also need to be removed through surgery.

Antitoxin-

If a person is diagnosed with foodborne or wound botulism early, then he can take antitoxin through injection. Antitoxin attempts to reduce the risk of complications from botulism. It works by binding to harmful chemicals present in a person's blood to protect his nerves from damage. If the nerves are damaged, the antitoxin cannot repair them. In this case, it may take a few months for the person to recover.

Botulism immune globulin-

"Botulism immune globulin" is used to treat botulism in children.

Ventilator-

If a person faces difficulty breathing due to botulism, they may need a "mechanical ventilator" for a few weeks. It works by filling air into the person's lungs through ventilator tubes (which are connected to the mouth and nose).

 


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