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Damage to the nervous system and paralysis: the doctor told how to recognize the symptoms of botulism

Date: July 12, 2024 Time: 15:50:20

Botulism is a rare but very serious disease. There are several forms of the disease, but the most common is considered foodborne: it develops due to improper processing and non-compliance with food storage conditions.

What we will tell you

What is botulism?

Candidate of Medical Sciences, Physician, Head of the Emergency Department, EMC

“Botulism is a serious infectious disease. It is not transmitted from person to person. Most of the time, outbreaks occur due to the consumption of contaminated products.”

The disease is caused by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum, which produces dangerous toxins (botulinum toxins) in low oxygen conditions. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), botulinum toxins are among the most deadly substances known. They block nerve functions and can cause respiratory and muscle paralysis.

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The number of patients with suspected botulism grows in Russia

Causes of botulism

Botulinum toxin enters the body through poorly processed foods. In low oxygen environments they survive, grow and produce toxins.

Photo: istockphoto.com/Pinkybird

According to Russia’s Rospotrebnadzor, people often get sick with botulism after consuming hermetically sealed canned products, homemade pickles and smoked products, where air does not penetrate and where favorable conditions are created for the preservation of the pathogen.

At the same time, the appearance, taste and smell of products do not change.

Symptoms of botulism

According to the doctor, the insidious thing about botulism is that the disease begins with the familiar symptoms of food poisoning: nausea, vomiting. However, there is a distinctive feature: in parallel, damage to the nervous system occurs.

The process of transmission of nerve impulses to muscles and tissues is disturbed and this, in turn, can cause various paralysis. These include problems with vision, speech, swallowing, and bilateral facial nerve paresis. In this case, a person cannot wrinkle his forehead or show his teeth, and facial activity is lost.

Photo: istockphoto.com/nicoletaionescu

In severe cases of the disease, the respiratory process and even the work of the heart muscle are disturbed. The incidence of botulism is low, but the mortality rate is high if timely diagnosis and appropriate immediate treatment are not made. The disease can be fatal in 5 to 10% of cases.

The symptoms are not caused by the bacteria itself, but by a toxin produced by the bacteria.

The incubation period for botulism (the time from infection to the appearance of the first symptoms) does not exceed five days. On average it is 24-48 hours.

Methods for diagnosing and treating botulism.

In the case of food botulism, group poisonings are most frequently recorded among people who consumed the same product during the same period of time. As a rule, these are various canned foods (mushrooms, vegetables, fruits), smoked or dried fish, and lard.

Diagnosis of the disease is based on a combination of clinical signs and laboratory tests aimed at detecting botulinum toxin and bacteria in the patient’s vomit and blood. In addition, products believed to have caused poisoning are necessarily examined for the presence of the toxin.

Botulism requires emergency care and the patient must be under constant supervision. Therefore, when the first symptoms appear, it is necessary to take the victim to the hospital as soon as possible. The quicker this is done, the better the chances of a successful recovery.

Photo: istockphoto.com/Sergii Kolesnikov

The patient receives gastric lavage, enemas and sorbents. All this is necessary to stop the action of the toxin and partially eliminate it from the body.

Botulism is dangerous due to the development of serious complications, including respiratory failure. It can cause the death of the patient.

Botulism prevention

Foodborne botulism can be prevented by taking certain precautions:

do not preserve food with signs of deterioration and rot; do not buy canned food in the market or from random people; do not violate the cooking technology: do not reduce the amount of salt, vinegar, do not shorten the cooking time; use canned foods from bulky cans; Store canned foods only in the refrigerator or basement.

And remember: the symptoms of botulism cannot be ignored, it is necessary to seek medical help as soon as possible.

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* This website provides news content gathered from various internet sources. It is crucial to understand that we are not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information presented Read More

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.
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