Botulism risk factors

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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 risk factors can be based upon the different types of the disease. The infants are more vulnerable to get infected with botulinum toxin. Honey and corn ingestion are common risk factors for the infants to get infected. Ingestion of preformed food and canned food increase the susceptibility of the infection. The intravenous drug abusers are vulnerable to get infected with wound botulism as well.

Risk Factors

Botulism risk factors can be characterized based on each type of botulism as follows:[1][2]

Infant botulism

Infants are especially vulnerable to botulism. Risk factors for infant botulism include:.[3][4]

  • Living in rural areas
  • Consuming corn or corn-containing products
  • Penetrating trauma
  • Being in contact with soil
  • Honey intake
  • Slow intestinal movement

Foodborne botulism

Using home canning methods increase risk for contracting botulism.

Canned foods provide an environment with optimal pH for clostridium botulinum to survive. Additionally, the anaerobic environment in canned products allows the bacteria to thrive.

Wound botulism

Wound botulism is a rare type of the disease yet, it is important to know the risk factors in order to completely prevent it. Wound botulism risk factors include the following:[6]

  • Intravenous drug abuse
  • Penetrating trauma with an infected object


  1. CDC Accessed on May 21, 2017
  2. Midura TF (1996). "Update: infant botulism". Clin Microbiol Rev. 9 (2): 119–25. PMC 172885. PMID 8964030.
  3. Istre GR, Compton R, Novotny T, Young JE, Hatheway CL, Hopkins RS (1986). "Infant botulism. Three cases in a small town". Am J Dis Child. 140 (10): 1013–4. PMID 3529934.
  4. Spika JS, Shaffer N, Hargrett-Bean N, Collin S, MacDonald KL, Blake PA (1989). "Risk factors for infant botulism in the United States". Am J Dis Child. 143 (7): 828–32. PMID 2741856.
  5. Carter AT, Peck MW (2015). "Genomes, neurotoxins and biology of Clostridium botulinum Group I and Group II". Res Microbiol. 166 (4): 303–17. doi:10.1016/j.resmic.2014.10.010. PMC 4430135. PMID 25445012.
  6. Swedberg J, Wendel TH, Deiss F (1987). "Wound botulism". West J Med. 147 (3): 335–8. PMC 1025878. PMID 3314158.

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