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ABSTRACT

Since primeval times, botulism has mostly occurred as a result of consuming


improperly preserved food.
However, in ancient times, the connection between food consumption and
subsequent death from paralytic disease in cases of botulism was not generally
recognized. The German physician and romantic poet Justinus Kerner (1786 –
1862) was the intellectual instigator of modern botulinum toxin therapy. It is
fascinating to see how his seminal ideas have materialized over the past 30years.
Kerner tried in vain to produce an artificial “sausage poison”. He then made
hypotheses concerning “sausage poison” thus:
I. That the toxin develops in bad sausages under anaerobic conditions.
II. That the toxin acts on the motor nerve and the autonomic nervous
system.
III. That the toxin is strong and lethal even in small doses.
Kerner also speculated about using toxin for therapeutic purposes.

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LITERATURE REVIEW
Food borne botulism probably has accompanied mankind since its beginning. At
the end of 18th century, some well documented outbreak of “sausage poisoning”
in southern Germany, especially in Württemberg, prompted early systematic
botulinum toxin research.
The German poet and district medical officer Justinus Kerner (1786 -1862)
published the first accurate and complete description of the symptoms of food –
borne botulism between 1817 and 1822.
Kerner did not succeed in defining the suspected “biological poison” which he
called “sausage or fatty poison”. Eighty years after Kerner’s work, in 1895, a
botulism outbreak after a funeral dinner with smoked Ham in the small Belgian
village of Ellezelles led to the discovery of the pathogen clostridium botulinum by
Emile Pierre Van Ermengen, professor of bacteriology at the University of Ghent.
The bacterium was so called because of its pathological association with the
sausages (Latin name for sausage is “botulus”) and not as it was suggested
because of its shape (rod shape).
Modern botulinum toxin treatment was pioneered by Alan B. Scott and Edward J.
Schantz.

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INTRODUCTION
The food we eat and the beverages we drink including water can become
contaminated by bacteria, viruses, parasites, and toxins or chemical that can
cause food – borne diseases or food poisoning.
Most people have experienced at least intestinal upset at some time in their lives
from eating food or drinking a beverage that was improperly stored or prepared,
insufficiently cooked, or was otherwise contaminated.
Food spoilage microorganisms are responsible for the low quality end product
where the poor food safety is due to pathogenic microbes. In this piece of work,
we shall be looking at food poisoning and intoxication, their similarities,
differences, causes, prevention and botulism.

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CHAPTER 1: FOOD POISONING
WHAT IS FOOD POISONING?
The term food poisoning is used to refer to variety of ideas in different literatures.
But most of the cases gives the same interpretation as food borne illness or food
borne disease.
Food poisoning can therefore be defined as the state of ill health resulting from
the consumption of contaminated food. Food can become contaminated for a
variety of reasons. Food related pathogens are common in the environment and
may contaminate a food item (spoiling it).
While food laws and regulations exists in part to protect people from
contaminated foods, some pathogens are so resilient that they persist despite
these efforts. Furthermore, many pathogens harmful to humans exist naturally in
much of the food we eat, such as meat and poultry.
Usually, these pathogens are destroyed when the food is cooked. However, if the
food is eaten undercooked or raw, or the food is handled improperly during
preparation or storage, the risk of transmitting harmful pathogens to humans
increases.
1.1 CAUSES OF FOOD POISONING
There are several factors causing food poisoning. Frequent food poisoning
outbreaks are caused by pathogenic microorganisms, chemical and parasites.
Some of the food poisoning orgasms can be named as:
I. Escherichia coli
II. Staphylococcus aureus
III. Vibrio cholera
IV. Salmonella
V. Norovirus
VI. Cholera
VII. Hepatitis A and B
VIII. Typhoid

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They are not like food spoilage microbes and do not alter the appearance and
taste of products. Also, they are not easy to assess the microbial safety of foods
without performing multiple microbiological tests.
1.2 SYMPTOMS OF FOOD POISONING
Because the microbes or toxins enters the body through the gastrointestinal tract,
the most common symptoms of these illness are:
I. Nausea
II. Vomiting
III. Diarrhea
IV. Abnormal cramps
V. Fever

1.3 MODE OF TRANSMISSION OF FOOD POISONING PATHOGENS


Many germs or pathogens that can contaminate food items may be transmitted
by other means such as:
I. Contact with the infected animals.
II. Contact with ill persons
III. Even as a result of laboratory accidents.
IV. Eating raw and undercooked meat and poultry
V. Improper handling of food during preparation or storage

1.4 PREVENTION OF FOOD POISONING

I. Wash your hands with soap and water before eating or cooking.
II. If you have diarrhea or are taking care of someone with symptoms, wash
your hands thoroughly or avoid preparing food altogether.
III. Wash your fresh produce before eating.
IV. Harmful pathogens can inhabit the outside of vegetables and fruits, so it is
better to remove the outer layers of cabbage and lettuce.
V. Keep meats separate from fruits and vegetables.
VI. Cook meats, poultry, eggs and seafood thoroughly. Whole meat needs to
reach 145⁰ in order to be safe for eating. Ground meat should be 160⁰ and
poultry 165⁰. Eggs should be cooked until the yoke is firm.
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VII. Refrigerate your left over foods

1.5 TREATMENT OF FOOD POISONED PATIENTS


Treatment of food poisoned depends on the source of the illness, if known, and
the Severity of the symptoms. The treatment may include:
I. Replacement of lost food – Fluids and electrolytes – minerals such as
sodium, potassium and calcium that maintain the balance of fluids in your
body, lost during persistent diarrhea need to be replaced. Children and
adults with persistent diarrhea or vomiting may need to be hospitalized,
where they can receive salts and fluids intravenously to prevent
dehydration.
II. Antibiotics – the doctor may prescribe antibiotics based on the type of
bacterial food poisoning and the severity of the symptoms.

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CHAPTER 2: FOOD INTOXICATION
WHAT IS FOOD INTOXICATION?
Intoxication is one of the predominant mechanisms of producing toxins by
pathogenic microorganisms which cause food borne illness. When the host is
ingested with performed toxin in the food by a microorganisms, it can be referred
to as food intoxication.
Staphylococcus aureus, clostridium and bacillus cereus are some of the organisms
which are capable of producing toxic compounds inside the food material.

2.1 SUSCEPTIBLE FOOD ITEMS CAUSING INTOXICATION


Intoxication like Botulism are fatal where a small amount of toxins can produce
the symptoms and even lead to death. Fermented carbohydrates, protein rich
foods, canned fish products, pulses and cereals are the most susceptible food
items for intoxication.

2.2 DIFFERENCE AND SIMILARITY BETWEEN FOOD INTOXICATION AND FOOD


POISONING
Contamination of food items by pathogenic microorganism is the cause for both
food poisoning and food intoxication.
However, the difference between the two is that food intoxication is only one of
the ways of occurrence of food poisoning. Having said that, it follows that food
intoxication could be prevented same way as preventing food poisoning.

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CHAPTER 3: BOTULISM
WHAT IS BOTULISM?
Botulism is food poisoning caused by the rod shaped, gram positive bacterium
“clostridium botulinum”. It releases a neurotoxin, which is a poison that attacks
the nervous system. Amongst other ways, one of the major ways of getting the
toxin into your system is by eating contaminated food. The pathogen is prevalent
in soil and water.
3.1 TYPES OF BOTULISM

I. INFANT BOTULISM: This happens when an infant consumes the bacteria or


their spores, and these grows in the gut. Infant can get botulism by eating
honey or corn syrup.
II. WOUND BOTULISM: This occurs when the organism enters an open wound
and produces toxin within the wound injection drug users are at risk for this
type of botulism.
III. FOOD BORNE BOTULISM: caused by consuming foods containing the
botulinum toxin
IV. ADULT INTESTINAL COLONISATION: is a rare form of botulism that occurs
when the bacterium colonizes the digestive track of an adult.
V. LATROGENIC BOTULISM: This occurs through an overdose of botulism
toxin, or Botox. Cases of this form of botulism have developed following
therapeutic administration of Botox.

3.2 SYMPTOMS OF BOTULISM


No matter how an individual got botulism, the symptoms are usually the
same. The most defining is weakness that starts on both of the face, goes down
to the neck and then to the rest of the body. Other early symptoms includes:
I. Double or blurred vision
II. Drooping eyelids
III. Difficulty swallowing
IV. Slurred speech
V. Shortness of breath

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OTHER SYMPTOMS THAT CAN FOLLOW INCLUDES:
VI. Vomiting
VII. Belly pain
VIII. Diarrhea
Though difficulty urinating and constipation might come later. If not treated,
the symptoms could progress to paralysis of the arms legs, and the muscles used
for breathing.
However, the symptoms in infants include:
I. Constipation
II. Poor feeding
III. Bad temper
IV. Excessive drooling when feeding
V. Sagging eyelids
VI. Respiratory difficulties
VII. Slow reflexes
VIII. Weak crying
IX. Weak sucking
In adults the symptom normally appears between 18 – 36hrs after
consuming the contaminated food. But this can vary between 3hrs and
8days. In infants botulism may not appear for 14days.
3.3 TREATMENT OF BOTULISM
I. ANTITOXINS: The main treatment for botulism is a medication called an
antitoxin. It interferes with the toxin in the blood stream. This medication
can often help stop symptoms from getting worse.

II. ANTIBIOTICS: Sometimes these may work if the case is wound botulism.
These Bacteria - killing medications are not used for other types of botulism.

III. BREATHING AID: If the case of botulism has seriously affected the breathing
muscles, a machine that helps in breathing or life support machine is needed.

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3.4 PREVENTION OF BOTULISM
I. Make sure to keep your hands, containers and utensils clean if you’re
canning your food at home.
II. Clean and store food carefully to reduce the chances of contamination.
III. Boil both canned food and non-canned food properly before eating.
IV. Proper refrigeration can help prevent the growth of clostridium botulinum
also.

FEW SIGNS OF POSSIBLE BOTULISM CONTAMINATION IN CANNED FOODS


INCLUDES:
I. The can has a bulge
II. The container spurs out foam or liquid when you open it.
III. The content smells unusual or foul.
IV. Don’t give honey or corn syrup to a baby younger than 1yr old.

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REFERENCES
Arnon SS, Midura TF, Clay SA, Wood RM, Chin J (1977)
Infant botulism; epidemiological, clinical and laboratory aspects.
Cheington M (2004)
Botulism; update and review
Erbguth F (1996) Historical note on the therapeutic use of botulism toxin in
neurological disorders.
Justinus Kerner (1820)
“Sausage poisoning”
Wanke CA
Approach to the adult with acute diarrhea in resource rich settings.

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