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