Botulism history and symptoms

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Botulism Microchapters


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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Michael Maddaleni, B.S.


Botulism symptoms may range from mild to severe in some cases. Common symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and dysphagia. Adults commonly complain of double vision, blurred vision and slurred speech. Infants may present with constipation or generalized weakness or hypotonia. The most serious symptom in adults and in children is complete flaccid paralysis with respiratory muscle paralysis. In infants, this condition is commonly referred to as "floppy baby syndrome".

History and Symptoms

Botulism patients often present with rapidly progressive neuromuscular malfunction. Patients commonly have a history of diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and difficulty in swallowing. Clinicians may illicit a history of consumption of fermented foods (particularly fish) in adults and consumption of honey in children.

Adult botulism Infant botulism
Most common symptoms Adult botulism includes both the foodborne and the wound botulism. The most common symptoms of botulism include the following:[1] Infants less than 12 months of age are susceptible, with 95% of cases occurring between the ages of 3 weeks and 6 months of age at presentation. The mode of action of this form is through colonization by germinating spores in the gut of an infant. Symptoms include:
Less common symptoms Diarrhea


  1. CDC Accessed on May 19, 2017

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