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Botulism in children symptoms and causes – diagnosis and treatment of botulism of food, wound and infant

Botulism in children

Botulism in children Is an acute progressive disease caused by botulinum toxin – a natural poison produced by spore-forming bacteria Clostridium botulinum. The ingestion of this toxic substance into the body usually occurs as a result of the use of contaminated food. However, in infants, infection can be caused by spores of certain types of clostridia that enter the body from the soil or through the air and actively multiply in the intestine. Botulinum toxin is a neurotoxin that blocks the ability of the motor nerves to release acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that transmits a nerve impulse to the muscles. This process leads to loss of voluntary movements, which in turn causes peripheral paralysis. With the progression of the disease, there may be a disruption in the work of the respiratory muscles and, as a consequence, there is an increase in respiratory failure and respiratory arrest.

Cases of botulism are rare, but high lethality makes it a big problem among medical personnel and other broad sections of the population. The clinical description of botulism is found in the texts of ancient Rome and Greece. However, the relationship between contaminated food and disease was not established until the end of the 18th century. In 1793 the German physician Justinius Kerner (1786-1862) established that the substance in spoiled sausages, which he called wurstgift (with the German sausage poison), causes botulism. The origin of the toxin remained uncertain. And only Emil van Ermenge (1851-1932), a Belgian teacher and microbiologist identified Clostridium botulinum in 1895 and identified it as a source of food poisoning.


Surgical intervention in the treatment of botulism may be necessary to sanitize an infected wound and remove the source of bacteria that produce toxin. You may need antibiotic therapy.

With food botulism, it is necessary to clean the gastrointestinal tract. Gastric lavage, laxatives, cleansing enemas are used.

It is not recommended to eat products containing magnesium, since it increases the effect of toxin. Parents should exclude honey from the diet of infants, due to the fact that it is often a source of controversy of clostridia.

As a result of medical intervention, a person suffering from botulism can fully recover, although this process usually takes a long time. It takes weeks and months to recover from the disease, and a full recovery after a heavy current can stretch even for a year.

Vaccines against botulism, which prevents the infant or other form of the disease, has not been developed. The most safe way to prevent botulism is eating high-quality food. Botulinum toxin is not visualized, has no taste and smell. Thus, it is necessary to abandon any food that looks spoiled or has lost its original appearance, or has defects in the packaging. It should avoid the use of canned food, which have the following defects in the packaging: swelling, deformation of the body and bottom, rust. Do not eat foods that were stored at room temperature or higher for more than a few hours.

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