WANTED - Clostridium Botulinum

By: Josh Heerman

What is Botulism?

Clostridium Botulinum, more commonly referred to as botulism, is a bacteria that can either be passed on through foods, or can be present from birth.
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When infected, this bacteria weakens the muscular system, and causes disruptions in the nervous system. It then affects breathing rates, which affects the respiratory system. There are three variations to this bacterium. Food botulism, wound botulism, and infant botulism. Infant botulism is when the bacteria grows inside a baby's gastrointestinal tract, which can be very dangerous and life threatening. Food botulism is often transmitted through canned foods with low acid content such as green beans or corn because of not following proper canning methods. The things to look for are leaking, bulging, or any cracks for botulism to get to the food. Lastly, wound botulism is the rarest form of botulism which is when the bacteria gets into and infects an open cut.


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Babies are most often infected with botulism when it grows in their gastrointestinal tract. When an infant gets botulism, it can be very dangerous, or even fatal. Infant botulism is the most common form of botulism.
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Another Victim

Here is an image of a 14 year old boy infected with botulism. The drooping eyelids, and weakened facial expressions are both signs of having botulism. On the image to the left, you can see that the boy can barely keep his eyes open. This is a very common symptom.


When infected with botulism, you may experience:

Difficulty speaking,

Difficulty swallowing,

Paralysis with weak muscles,

Shortness of breath,

Slow reflexes,

Urinary retention,

Drooping of upper eyelid or muscle weakness,

Drooling or dryness,




Dizziness or fatigue.

Many people say that having botulism is horrible mainly because your entire body is weak, you have no energy, and many body parts are aching in pain.


Botulism can be found in contaminated water, soil, or foods. This bacteria is found all around the world. Consuming even the smallest amounts of this toxin can lead to severe poisoning from this bacteria. In some cases, Botulism is developed in an infant, even without exposure to the bacteria.


You can avoid botulism by making sure your food is clean, and going to the doctor immediately if you experience any symptoms of botulism. Antitoxin injections and breathing assistance may be needed depending on how bad the disease is affecting you. Antitoxin injections block the action of the toxin circulating in the blood, and ventilators may also be used for weeks, or even months. The paralysis moves very slowly. Botulism is a dangerous bacteria that can infect all ages of people. Although this bacteria is fatal to 3-5% of victims, over the past 50 years, the number of patients who have died from botulism has decreased by about 50%. In severe cases, patients may need intensive medical care for several weeks, or even months. Be sure you take good safety precautions to avoid this!