The extreme toxicity of botulism makes it a potentially lethal type of food poisoning – and a possible agent of bioterrorist attack
The extreme toxicity of botulism makes it a potentially lethal type of food poisoning – and a possible agent of bioterrorist attack. Data from the Republic of Georgia (a former Soviet nation south of Russia) suggest that an infected person’s symptoms could help doctors predict how immediate the risk of death is, allowing physicians to prioritize victim care based on severity of symptoms, according to an article in the August 1 issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases, now available online.
Botulism is caused by eating food contaminated with a naturally occurring bacterium, Clostridium botulinum. C. botulinum produces a potent neurotoxin that can have drastic effects on the body. Symptoms include double vision, dry mouth, difficulty swallowing, dilated pupils, drooping eyelids and slurred speech, followed by eventual paralysis.
Jeff Minerd | EurekAlert!
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