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What Are the Different Types of Botulism?Botulism is a rare but dangerous bacterial infection that is often caused by food poisoning. Symptoms from botulism start with weakness in the face, which can cause blurred vision, slurred speech, and difficulty breathing and swallowing. Symptoms continue down the body, often causing abdominal pain and vomiting. A mild case of botulism can take weeks to months to recover from, while a severe case could take years. If left untreated, botulism is potentially fatal. One of the tricky aspects of tracking the origin of a botulism case is that there are multiple ways that a person can contract the botulinum toxin. Knowing which type of botulism you have can determine whether you will be successful in filing a food poisoning lawsuit:

  1. Foodborne Botulism: The most common form of botulism is the type that you get from eating contaminated food. When processed foods are not properly sealed, the botulinum toxin is able to grow to the point that it becomes dangerous for consumption. Botulism is commonly associated with canning fruits and vegetables at home, when people may not tightly seal their preserved foods. However, it is also possible to contract botulism from commercially processed foods.
  2. Infant Botulism: Infants can develop botulism when spores in their intestines grow and become toxic. An infant’s digestive system is not able to fully break down spores that naturally appear in foods such as honey. As a result, the spores may linger in their intestines and grow.
  3. Adult Intestinal Toxemia: Similar to infant botulism, some adults have difficulty digesting spores, allowing them to become toxic bacteria inside the digestive tract. This is a rare condition that is most likely to occur in someone who has pre-existing gastrointestinal problems.
  4. Wound Botulism: People can develop botulism if bacteria infect an opening on the body and become toxic. Wound botulism most commonly occurs with people who suffer a severe injury or use drugs that they inject into their bodies.
  5. Iatrogenic Botulism: You may have heard of botulinum toxin used by another name: Botox. Cosmetic surgeons inject small amounts of the botulinum toxin into patients’ faces in order to remove wrinkles. An overdose of the botulinum toxin can cause botulism.

Contact an Illinois Food Poisoning Attorney

People diagnosed with botulism may be able to quickly narrow down the likely source of their infection if they have never had cosmetic injections, are drug-free, or have not suffered serious wounds recently. An Illinois food poisoning lawyer at Newland & Newland, LLP, will help you track down the source of your foodborne illness. Schedule a consultation by calling 312-981-0409.

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How Botulism Can Come from Commercial FoodsCases of foodborne botulism in the U.S. are rare, typically numbering between 10 and 30 each year. Some botulism cases originate from people canning and preserving their own foods. Cracks or leaks in a food container will allow harmful bacteria to grow inside the food. You would not have anyone to file a lawsuit against if your own negligence in storing your food caused your illness. However, there are cases of foodborne botulism coming from commercial food producers, who can be held liable for illnesses that their products cause.

Commercial Canning

Commercially canned foods are less likely to contain bacteria than the food people can themselves at home because businesses have safety standards that they must follow, including:

  • Heating the cans long enough to kill spores that may cause botulism; and
  • Sealing the cans to prevent food contamination.

Foods that are low in acid are more vulnerable to bacteria, such as vegetables, fruits, and fish. You may recognize that canned food is contaminated if the can is bulging or the food gives off a bad odor. However, the bacteria do not always change the food’s taste or odor.

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