Botulism – Ukraine

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Two people died in hospitals in Chernihiv region died of botulism.

A 38-year-old woman from the Koropsky district fell ill after eating home-made dried, unwashed fish. A 48-year-old man from Chernigov died in the city hospital. Yesterday he complained of poor health, in the evening he was hospitalized in critical condition in the intensive care unit, he was injected with the necessary drugs, but in the morning he died. The day before, he ate fish purchased from the market.

This year eight cases were recorded in the last month in Chernihiv region. Two people died.

The doctors recommend local residents not to eat jerky fish, because there is only one dose of botulinum antitoxin left in the region.

Photo: Clostridium botulinum.

Foodborne botulism is a severe intoxication caused by eating the preformed toxin present in contaminated food. It occurs when spores of bacterium Clostridium botulinum germinate and the organism is allowed to grow and produce toxin in food that is later eaten without sufficient heating or cooking to inactivate the spores. Botulinum toxin is one of the most potent neurotoxins known.

Typically in a few hours to several days after ingestion of the contaminated food, one will start to show the classic symptoms: blurred vision, dry mouth, and difficulty in swallowing. Gastrointestinal symptoms may or may not occur. If untreated, the paralysis can descend through the body starting at the face and working its way down.

Prevention is primarily by proper food preparation. The toxin, though not the organism, is destroyed by heating it to more than 85 C (185 F) for longer than 5 minutes. Honey can contain the organism, and for this reason, honey should not be fed to children under 12 months.

Globally, botulism is fairly rare, with approximately 1,000 cases yearly.

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