A local health emergency has been issued in Andresito, in Posadas, Argentina due to a number of recent cases of botulism. This has caused the death of three people, while another eight are hospitalized in critical condition.
Among the deceased is a child under 8 years of age, the third death in the last three days among members of the same family, which occurred after consuming a meat-based product.
“Everyone is in a critical health situation,” said Public Health Minister Oscar Alarcón, referring to those admitted to the SAMIC hospital in Eldorado. He added that “they are stable, responding to treatment.”
Alarcón affirmed that they are establishing all the necessary strategies to offer them a specific treatment that avoids death to those affected. “The medical plane is already on its way bringing specific serums from Buenos Aires and Corrientes to reinforce the provincial stock,” he said.
The Municipality of Andresito stated that “there are firm indications that the food infected with the bacteria that causes this poisoning is in the self-produced sausages of the two deceased persons. It is feared that they could have commercialized ”.
Food borne botulism is a severe intoxication caused by eating the preformed toxin present in contaminated food.
Food borne botulism occurs when the bacterium Clostridium botulinum is allowed to grow and produce toxin in food that is later eaten without sufficient heating or cooking to inactivate the toxin. Botulinum toxin is one of the most potent neurotoxins known.
Typically in a few hours to several days after you eat the contaminated food you will start to show the classic symptoms; blurred vision, dry mouth, and difficulty in swallowing. Gastrointestinal symptoms may or may not occur. If untreated, the paralysis always descends through the body starting at the shoulders and working its way down.
The most serious complication of botulism is respiratory failure where it is fatal in up to 10% of people. It may take months before recovery is complete.
If the disease is caught early enough it can be treated with antitoxin. If paralysis and respiratory failure happen, the person may be on a ventilator for several weeks.