Botulism

Botulism is a serious illness that causes paralysis, caused by the botulinum toxin. The clostridium botulinum bacteria can enter the body through wounds or they can live in improperly canned or preserved food. If botulism is not treated and no medical care is involved it may result in respiratory failure and death are very likely. In the United States an average of one hundred and ten cases of botulism are reported every year. The ACLS Course is designed to treat some of the signs and symptoms associated with Botulism. The three main types of botulism are infant, foodborne, and wound botulism. Seventy two percent are infant botulism, twenty five percent are food borne, and the rest are wound botulism.

Botulism has several different symptoms depending on which kind you have. Most symptoms typically appear within eighteen to thirty six hours of eating some sort of contaminated food. It can also be as soon as four hours and last up to seven or eight days. Most infections usually produce a fever but botulism does not. Infant botulism symptoms may include constipation, excessive drooling when feeding, slow or improper reflexes, and weak cries. It may also leave the infant with little or no facial expression and their eyelids may even sag. Some food borne botulism signs are vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, and nausea. Most of those symptoms occur a day or two after the infection. More serious signs may start to occur about six hours after the intake of the bacteria. In most wound botulism cases the development of the symptoms may take up to four days for them start and then they may spread to other parts of the body. They may leave the body feeling weak and abdominal cramps may occur. You may also experience that breathing becomes difficult which leads to respiratory failure.

In most cases of botulism it is diagnosed by diagnostic test. When attending medical assistance they will ask about recent health history and do a physical examination. Botulism has many signs that are similar to strokes, myasthenia gravis, and Guilain-Barre syndrome so test will have to be done to rule them out.   Some tests that are done are brain scans, cerebrospinal fluid exam, and electromyography. To identify infant botulism, testing is done to stool or specimen of enema with mouse bioassay. Blood test may also be done to detect toxins in the blood. Botulism needs to be treated right away. In most cases if botulism is found in infants there are no long term side effects. The older the patient is with botulism the higher the risk is of respiratory failure.

In almost all situations of botulism the individual needs to be hospitalized and be treated right away. Most patients are injected with antitoxins will stop symptoms from worsening. However, that is not the cure for the infection. When diagnosed with infant botulism the patient will be given BIG-V or Baby BIG which is botulism immune globulin intravenous-human. If the patient is diagnosed with food borne or wound botulism they will be put on a ventilator and fluids and nutrients will be given intravenously. If the infection that has occurred in the wound,and needs to be treated surgically the area infected will be removed.