Processed food consumption is prevalent in the American society. One of the rare diseases that can affect the people on eating processed food items is the Botulism. It is a rare disease as of now in United States with just 150 cases reported every year. But with a rise in the consumption of processed foods, the risks of this disease too escalates.
The symptoms of botulism become apparent once the toxins released by the bacteria bacillus Clostridium botulinum enter our body. They can occur within jus 6 hours of the toxin’s effect or as late as 10 days. Typically the signs are seen within 12-36 hours of the toxin’s release by the bacteria. In 5 to 10 percent cases, the disease is life threatening.
Symptoms of Botulism are: The disease is less known and the symptoms known as of now of this disease are:
- dry mouth,
- severe diarrhea,
- slurred speech,
- difficulty swallowing,
- double vision,
- progressive muscle paralysis,
- muscle weakness,
- Facial weakness,
- abdominal cramps,
- paralysis of the arms, legs, trunk, and respiratory muscles.
United States recently is experiencing a rise in the prevalence of this disease in children. Named infant botulism, it is quickly becoming the most common type of botulism cases reported. The very recent discovery and its quick prevalence has made the diagnosis of the disease difficult.
Symptoms of Botulism in Infants: Children below the age of 12 years are at high risks of getting affected by this disease. The indications are:
- The first sign is Constipation,
- Floppy movements because of muscle weakness,
- Uncontrolled movements of the head
- Weak cry
- Difficulty in sucking
- Difficulty in feeding
- Drooping eyelids
Symptoms of Wound Botulism:
- Change in vision or double vision
- Weakness or fatigue
- Dry mouth
- Difficulty in speaking
- Wound pain
- Difficulty in breathing
- Weakness of face, neck, arms and leg muscles
- Sore throat
- Abdominal pain
Facts and Statistics on Botulism:
- There are approximately 9 outbreaks of this diease every year with in the United States.
- 75 percent of botulism cases are diagnosed in infants.
- 0.1-1.0 milligram of toxin released by the bacteria clostridium botulinum can prove to be lethal.
- Intake of honey is found to cause less than 5 percent cases of botulism in infants.
- Spores of bacteria enter in to the intestine of babies and release the harmful toxin.
- California researchers have found that 10 percent of store-bought samples of honey contain these spores.
- Children below the age of 12 months should not be fed this honey. However it is safe to give honey to babies above 1 year.
- This is the reason why this toxin is the most potent bacterial toxin known to exist.
- Poor feeding and worsening abdominal pain are the warning signs of this disease in babies.
- Corn, beets and green beans are some home processed low acid content foods which cause food botulism in adults.
- People injecting black tar heroin from Mexico are at high risk of getting wound botulism as this drug contains the bacteria clostridium botulinum.
- Blood test, stool test, chest x-ray and pulse oximetry are couples of tests which are carried out to diagnose this disease.
- Complications associated with botulism includes respiratory failure and aspiration pneumonia.