Botulism: Benefits and Side Effects

Pages: 4 (843 words) Published: February 29, 2012

The topic I chose to talk about today is botulism. Botulism neurotoxin is one of the most lethal substances known to man. Not many people are aware of what it is and its negative side-effects.

What is Botulism?

3) Botulism is a neurotoxin produced by Clostridium botulism. Botulism causes extreme and sometimes fatal food poisoning. Botulism was first identified in Germany in 1735. A person had eaten a German sausage and got food poisoning. This is how botulism got its name because botulism is derived from the Latin word for sausage. Incidence is rare in US but is of great concern because if not treated in time it can be fatal.

5) There are about 110 cases of botulism a year in the United States. About 5% of patients with botulism end up dying.

6)There are three types of botulism:

Wound Botulism

Infant Botulism

Food-borne Botulism


Each of the types of botulism has a different source.

Wound Botulism-is acquired from an open sore and injury that has caused an opening in the skin, which has become infected with Clostridium Botulism.

Infant Botulism- happens when an infant eats food, usually honey, which has spores of Clostridium botulism. These spores will grow in the infant’s intestines and release the neurotoxin.

Food-borne Botulism- since Clostridium Botulism is found in soil and lives in low oxygen environments it sometimes can form spores which lie dormant until they are exposed to the necessary environment. Canned foods sometimes provide an ideal environment for the dormant spores to become active and taint the food if not preserved properly.

How it works:

The botulism neurotoxin causes paralysis of the muscles by blocking the axon terminal from releasing from releasing acetylcholine in a neuromuscular junction. The blocking of acetylcholine from being released means that the chemical gates for sodium channels can’t be...
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