Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Botulism Overview

What is botulism?
A person with botulism has a life-threatening illness caused by a toxin that is produced by the bacteria, Clostridium botulinum. Botulism toxin causes muscle weakness. The botulism bacteria enter the body in food or through an open wound. There are four types of botulism: food-borne botulism, wound botulism, infant botulism, and botulism from an unknown source.

What are the symptoms of botulism?
Initial symptoms of botulism include a change in vision, double vision, dry mouth, difficulty speaking, and weakness or fatigue. Other symptoms include abdominal pain, vomiting, and sore throat.

How does the doctor treat botulism?
Treatment for botulism includes antibiotics and botulism antitoxin.

Continue to Botulism Incidence

Last Updated: Aug 18, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Botulism References
  1. Cherington M. Botulism: update and review. Semin Neurol. 2004 Jun;24(2):155-63. [15257512]
  2. Hatheway CL: Botulism: the present status of the disease. Curr Top Microbiol Immunol 1995; 195: 55-75. [8542759]
  3. Robinson RF, Nahata MC. Management of botulism. Ann Pharmacother. 2003 Jan;37(1):127-31. [12503947]
  4. Shapiro RL, Hatheway C, Swerdlow DL: Botulism in the United States: a clinical and epidemiologic review. Ann Intern Med 1998 Aug 1; 129(3): 221-8. [9696731]
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