Botulism Essay

4398 Words Sep 13th, 2014 18 Pages

This paper will discuss how one becomes infected with botulism, how it affects the body systems, and the emergency management/ preparedness needed in order to effectively treat this disease. Botulism is a rare, naturally occurring disease that may be caused by deliberate or accidental exposure to the toxins of Clostridium botulinum. The three types of naturally occurring disease are food-borne, wound and intestinal colonization botulism, dependent on the route of ingress of the toxins. It may also be a result of biological terrorism. It presents with an afebrile, descending, symmetrical, flaccid paralysis of motor and autonomic but not sensory nerves. Respiratory failure can occur rapidly with little prior
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The spores require warm temperatures, a protein source, an anaerobic environment, and moisture in order to become active and produce toxin. In the wild, decomposing vegetation and invertebrates combined with warm temperatures can provide ideal conditions for the botulism bacteria to activate and produce toxin that may affect feeding birds and other animals. Botulism is uncommon; therefore certain conditions are necessary for botulinum toxin production including an anaerobic, low-salt, low-acid, low-sugar environment at ambient temperatures. Botulinum neurotoxin is also considered one of the most potent, lethal substances known. As little as about 1 nanogram/kg can be lethal to an individual, and scientists have estimated that about 1 gram could potentially kill 1 million people. This small amount of toxin capable of killing humans has made the toxin a candidate for use in weapons for biowarfare and bioterrorism.
The toxins enter the human body in one of three ways: by colonization of the digestive tract by the bacterium (infant botulism or adult intestinal toxemia), by ingestion of toxin from foods (foodborne botulism) or by contamination of a wound by the bacterium (wound botulism). It is not transmitted from one person to another. Improperly preserved food is the most common cause of food-borne botulism. Fish that has been pickled without the salinity or acidity of brine that contains acetic acid and high sodium levels, as well

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