Botulism : A Social Aspect Of A Disease

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What is botulism? - A social aspect of a disease in the US and its global impact
Botulism is a serious neuromuscular poisoning caused by a nerve toxin that is produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. Historical records report that Sumerians invented sausages around 3000 b.c in what is present day Iraq(). Between 1817 and 1822, Kerner from Germany published and completed an accurate description of what he called wurstgift or “sausage poison” after suspecting biological poisoning related to eating sausages. Kerner was intrigued to the point that he even injected himself with the toxin and survived; that’s how the disease became known as “Kerner’s disease”.
Botulinum elaborates 7 types of antigenically distinct neurotoxins, 4 of
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The spores that they from allow them to survive in dormant state until exposed to optimal growth conditions which is why toxin production (especially type E) can occur at temp of 3C (inside a refrigerator).A relevant fact is that C. botulinum spores are extremely heat resistant and can survive boiling for hours at 100C unlike toxins that are destroyed by heat and cooking at 80C for 30 min against botulism. Therefore we came to know that spores found in honey come from C.botulinum which leads to infant botulism.
In the United States, averages of 145 cases are reported annually. Of these, approximately 15% are foodborne, 65% are infant botulism, and 20% are wound (). C.botulinum spores are common in the environment and many cases may be caused by the ingestion/inhalation of dust, through eyes or break in the skin. As far as its geographic distribution, food borne botulism is dominant in western states which have accounted for more than half of all reported foodborne outbreaks since 1950.Infant botulism was found in suburban areas in the eastern US and in some small towns and rural areas in the West. Wound botulism occurs in western states especially California.
Food-borne botulism usually begins 18 to 36 hours after toxin ingestion, even though incubation period may vary from 4 h to 8 days(). The main sources are home canned foods that are low in acid. Of the outbreaks caused by seafood, type E accounts for about 50 % ().
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