Botulism is a rare but serious condition caused by toxins from bacteria called Clostridium botulinum.
Botulism comes in several forms, with the three main forms being:
- Infant botulism. This most common form of botulism begins after Clostridium botulinum bacterial spores grow in a baby's intestinal tract. It typically occurs between the ages of 2 and 6 months.
- Foodborne botulism. The harmful bacteria thrive and produce the toxin in environments with little oxygen, such as in canned food.
- Wound botulism. If these bacteria get into a cut, they can cause a dangerous infection that produces the toxin.
All types of botulism can be fatal and are considered medical emergencies.
Jul. 19, 2012
- Botulism. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/nczved/divisions/dfbmd/diseases/botulism/. Accessed March 20, 2012.
- Botulism. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merck.com/mmpe/print/sec14/ch178/ch178c.html. Accessed March 20, 2012.
- Longo DL, et al. Harrison's Online. 18th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=4. Accessed March 20, 2012.
- Manfredi M, et al. Dry mouth as an initial sign of food-borne botulism: A case report and review of the literature. Oral Surgery, Oral Medicine, Oral Pathology, Oral Radiology. 2011;111:e15.
- Principles of home canning. United States Department of Agriculture. http://nchfp.uga.edu/publications/publications_usda.html. Accessed March 22, 2012.
- Chalk C, et al. Medical treatment for botulism. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. http://www.thecochranelibrary.com/view/0/index.html. Accessed March 20, 2012.
- Zhang JC, et al. Botulism, where are we now? Clinical Toxicology. 2010;48:867.
- Botox medication guide. Food and Drug Administration. www.fda.gov/downloads/Drugs/DrugSafety/UCM176360.pdf. Accessed March 22, 2012.
You Are ... The Campaign for Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization. Make a difference today.