Botulism is a disease caused by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum. It can be found in water or on food that has not been preserved or stored properly, such as in canned goods.
Patient’s with the disease began having weakness in their facial muscles, with difficulty seeing and swallowing. The weakness then spreads down their body to their arms and legs, and eventually can paralyze the muscles that help with breathing.
The paralysis can last up to 8 weeks, and during that time patients need supportive treatment and ventilation for their breathing. Botulism is fatal in about 10% of people who are affected.
Only one microgram of botulism toxin can be fatal!
The way that the botulism toxin works is by paralyzing the nerves. In the 1980s, researchers began to use it for medical purposes. It is now used to treat patients who have muscle problems around their eyes (strabismus and blepharospasm), for patients with severe muscle spasticity, for migraine headaches, and for cosmetic purposes (Botox for wrinkles).
Botulism poisoning has occurred in patients who receive the wrong dose from cosmetic treatment.
Clostridium botulinum bacteria: