Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Botulism Types

There are four types of botulism:

  • Food-borne botulism
  • Wound botulism
  • Infant botulism
  • Botulism from an unknown source

Botulism Food Borne Botulism

This type of botulism comes from eating food that contains small spores. The spores produce bacteria, which produce toxins.

Sources include:

  • Foods that are undercooked
  • Improper canning methods

Botulism Infant Botulism

Infant botulism is the most common form of this disease. About 500 cases of infant botulism have been reported since it was first discovered in 1976.

Sources include:

  • Honey

Botulism Unknown Source

Some people with botulism have no apparent source for their infection. Most of these patients have ingested contaminated food or have a minor infected wound.

Botulism Wound Botulism

Botulism spores are present in the soil. The spores can enter a wound that is contaminated with soil. If the bacteria start growing in the wound, the botulism toxin is produced by the bacteria, causing illness.

Last Updated: Dec 2, 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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