Journal Article

An Outbreak of Foodborne Botulism Associated with Food Sold at a Salvage Store in Texas

Pavani Kalluri, Colleen Crowe, Megan Reller, Linda Gaul, James Hayslett, Suzanne Barth, Stacey Eliasberg, J. Ferreira, Kristin Holt, Steve Bengston, Kate Hendricks and Jeremy Sobel

in Clinical Infectious Diseases

Published on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America

Volume 37, issue 11, pages 1490-1495
Published in print December 2003 | ISSN: 1058-4838
Published online December 2003 | e-ISSN: 1537-6591 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/379326
An Outbreak of Foodborne Botulism Associated with Food Sold at a Salvage Store in Texas

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Foodborne botulism is caused by potent neurotoxins of Clostridium botulinum. We investigated a large outbreak of foodborne botulism among church supper attendees in Texas. We conducted a cohort study of attendees and investigated the salvage store that sold the implicated foods. We identified 15 cases of botulism (40%) among 38 church supper attendees. Nine patients (60%) had botulinum toxin type A detected in stool specimens. The diagnosis was delayed in 3 cases. Fifteen (63%) of 24 attendees who ate a chili dish developed botulism (relative risk, undefined; P < .001). The chili dish was prepared with “brand X” or “brand Y” frozen chili, “brand Z” canned chili, and hot dogs. An unopened container of brand X chili yielded type A toxin. Brand X chili was purchased at a salvage store where perishable foods were inadequately refrigerated. Our investigation highlights the need to improve clinicians' awareness of botulism. More rigorous and more unannounced inspections may be necessary to detect food mishandling at salvage stores.

Journal Article.  3714 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Infectious Diseases ; Immunology ; Public Health and Epidemiology ; Microbiology

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