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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Diseases and Conditions > Botulism in Adults and Children

Botulism in Adults and Children

Alternate Names : Food Poisoning

Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

Botulism is a rare but potentially fatal disorder. It is caused by a toxin, or poison, produced by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum.

What is going on in the body?

Botulinum toxins are among the most powerful poisons known. There are three forms of botulism:

  • Foodborne botulism can occur when a person eats food containing Clostridium botulinum bacteria.
  • Infant botulism occurs when a baby ingests the spores of the bacteria. The spores then grow in the baby's intestine and produce toxin.
  • Wound botulism can be acquired when a wound becomes infected with the bacteria. Black-tar heroin injections are a modern source of wound botulism.
  • What are the causes and risks of the condition?

    Botulism is caused by a toxin made by the Clostridium botulinum bacteria. Foodborne botulism in adults and children is acquired by eating improperly preserved or stored food that contains the toxin. Home canned food is a major source of foodborne botulism.

    Infant botulism can be caused by eating honey, which may contain botulism spores. It can also be caused by eating food containing the toxin.

    Wound botulism occurs when the bacteria enter a wound, grow, and produce the toxin. Black-tar heroin injections are a prime source of wound botulism.


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    Botulism in Adults and Children: Symptoms & Signs

    Author: Danielle Zerr, MD
    Reviewer: Barbara Mallari, RN, BSN, PHN
    Date Reviewed: 08/06/01

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