Botulism in humans: symptoms, signs, treatment

The use of low-quality food in some cases leads to the ingestion of botulinum toxin, which causes severe damage to internal organs. Botulism is a deadly disease. Therefore, it is necessary to remember its main symptoms and characteristics of the clinical picture.

What is botulism

Botulism is a serious infectious disease that is caused by the vital activity of pathogenic microorganisms. The disease has a pronounced severe symptoms. When not treated may develop complications. In some cases the lesion is so severe that the person dies.

The causative agent of botulism – the bacterium Clostridium (Clostridium botulinum). This anaerobic microorganism, characterized by mobility. Similar in appearance to a stick, whose length is not more than 9 µm. Has the ability to form spores.

In nature the spores of the microorganism found in the soil. The source of infection is feces of animals, fish, shellfish. In them, the bacteria develops and multiplies.

The microorganism itself is not dangerous to humans. Poisoning causes botulism toxin, which is a waste product of the bacteria.

Under what conditions is the activity of bacteria

In order to understand the mechanism of the disease, you need to understand how to develop bacteria. Favorable conditions for its existence is the complete absence of oxygen and the ambient temperature in the range from 20 to 35 degrees.

Clostridium has high survivability. She dies in large concentration of salts, spices or acids. In the form of spores, it can live for decades. It does not kill the cold or drying. To get rid of it helps only a long, boiling more than half an hour.

Such properties of Bacillus botulinum, causing food poisoning, making it dangerous for human health. Most often, the infection occurs by eating substandard food in which microorganisms can settle.

The mechanism of the disease

The pathogenesis of the disease is quite simple. Once in the human organism, Clostridium begins to lead an active life. While it produces a large amount of toxin. Hydrochloric acid contained in the stomach, does not cause the organism any effect and does not destroy the toxin.

Toxic substances enter the bloodstream and spread throughout the body. They reach the brain. Therefore, the disease manifests itself in numerous symptoms on the part of all internal organs.

The incubation period of the disease can vary from a couple hours to a day. How quickly the disease manifests itself depends on how much the infection has entered the body. For the duration of the incubation period can influence and the consumption of alcoholic beverages.

Characteristics of the disease suggests that it appears suddenly. In the beginning it can be easily confused with simple food poisoning. It affects the rate of development of complications. The poison was instantly absorbed through the intestines into the bloodstream and spreads through the body. In this connection it is necessary as soon as possible to diagnose the problem and begin treatment.

What types of diseases exist

Classification of the disease can be performed in several ways. If we talk about the power of destruction, there are the following forms of the disease:

  1. Easy. Often affects exclusively the organs of vision.
  2. Average weight. A toxic effect is on the muscles of the eyes and larynx.
  3. Heavy. Accompanied by a serious anomaly in the functioning of internal organs.

Especially dangerous is a severe form of defeat. At untimely or incorrect treatment, it could lead to death.

Epidemiology has identified several basic types:

  1. Food botulism. This species is most common. The disease is associated with eating foods in which the botulinum toxin is formed.
  2. Wound botulism. Occurs by ingestion of contaminated particles of the earth in open wounds on the skin. Often found in people suffering from drug addiction due to the use of unsterilized tools during the injection. Is not developing as rapidly as the food form. The incubation period may reach two weeks.
  3. Infant botulism. Often occurs in children under the age of 6 months when ingested spores of Clostridium. This is due to a violation of the rules of hygiene and sanitary norms in the room where the child lives. Clostridium may enter the body through dirty hands, house dust, dirty toys. The source of infection can be honey, therefore, at an early age its use is not recommended.
  4. Respiratory botulism. Infection occurs through inhalation of spores Clostridium. To start the process of disease development, spores should be quite a lot. This is possible with the use of bacteriological weapons.
  5. Of unknown nature. The disease belong to this group, when accurately determine the factors of transmission cannot.

Clinical disease will depend on its shape. Therefore before you develop a programtreatment experts identify the source of infection.

Methods of infection and how to prevent the multiplication of clostridia

Most often the etiology of the disease lies in the use of poor quality or stale food. Because Clostridium only live in the absence of oxygen, the infection occurs from certain foods, e.g., canned food, prepared at home.

Causes of illness can lurk in the consumption of seafood. Clostridia feel good in the body of fish and shellfish. To the list of dangerous products include the following:

  1. Canned mushrooms.
  2. Any canned food, including vegetables.
  3. Sausages.
  4. Dried, salted or smoked fish.

Food poisoning can cause any products that have not undergone sufficient heat treatment. Microorganisms do not affect the color or smell of food.

As the life of the bacteria produce large amounts of gas, so to identify infected botulism canned food can be swollen the lid on the pot.

If you love homemade preserves, then their preparation must follow some rules:

  1. The bad microorganisms survive in conditions of high sugar content. So jams need to prepare very sweet. Then they can be considered relatively safe.
  2. Clostridium can live in the presence of oxygen. So cucumbers, tomatoes and some other vegetables it is safer to add salt in the tubs, not in tightly sealed jars.
  3. Pickled products are best stored at low temperatures. Better suited for this cellar or refrigerator. With a long stay in such conditions, the toxin is destroyed.

Compliance with such recommendations will allow you to protect yourself and loved ones from infection. If any canned food has questionable quality, certainly their discard.

The first warning signs and symptoms

As soon as the incubation period, begin to show the first signs of botulism in humans. Onset of the disease in adults can be both smooth and sharp. It is important not to try to self-medicate, and immediately contact a specialist, while valuable time is not yet lost. Identify the following early symptoms:

  • Sensation of dryness in the mouth.
  • Blurred vision. It becomes difficult to read the text fails to carefully consider closely spaced objects.
  • Appears before the eyes mesh.
  • Objects can visually be divided.
  • The change of voice. He becomes hoarse and rough.
  • Disturbed speech.
  • Muscles felt weak.
  • Disturbed bowel function, constipation appears.
  • Problems with urination.

While intoxication is not accompanied by fever or loss of consciousness, as it is with ordinary food poisoning. There is no loss of sensitivity.

Symptoms in adults

The manifestation of the disease may be different – depending on what system of the body is attacked. There are several possible scenarios:

  1. Gastroenterology. Toxins primarily affect the digestive system. In this case, there are pain in the epigastric area. They are colicky. Possible vomiting and diarrhea. The symptoms resemble poisoning. Food barely passes through the esophagus.
  2. Acute respiratory distress syndrome. This option develops when the toxin affects the lungs and respiratory tract. This is the most dangerous condition as it can lead to asphyxia. Is accompanied by shortness of breath, tachycardia, cyanosis.
  3. Eye. Expressed in eye disorders. Before the eyes of the grid, all the objects seen in a fog, to clearly identify their contours is not possible. May develop an attack of far-sightedness.

With the development of the disease clinical picture becomes more serious. Perhaps the development of paresis and paralysis of various muscle groups. This period may manifest the following symptoms:

  • the defeat of the muscles of the larynx. Accompanied by difficulty swallowing;
  • paralysis of facial muscles. The face becomes asymmetrical;
  • paresis of the diaphragm. Later paresis of the diaphragm leads to oxygen starvation of the tissues;
  • bradycardia alternating with tachycardia;
  • increase in blood pressure.

In order for the treatment is successful, it is necessary as soon as possible to diagnose the problem. Therefore, if you notice such symptoms should immediately seek help from a doctor. Self-medication in this case especially dangerous to life.

Peculiarities of disease in children

For violation of sanitary norms and rules personal hygiene the bacteria can get into the body of the baby. In rare cases, the cause of the infection becomes milk formula low quality. The disease affects infants up to six months. The case definition of botulism in newborns is performed according to the following criteria:

  1. The child refuses to eat.
  2. Deteriorating eyesight. It can be seen that, as the child lowers the upper eyelids may appear cross-eyed. The eyes becomefixed.
  3. The child strongly cries excitedly, hear the wheezing.

These symptoms are reason enough to immediately call an ambulance. The only way to avoid serious health consequences.

In a later age the disease can manifest itself in other symptoms. These include:

  1. Difficulty of swallowing.
  2. Speech becomes slurred, the child over-enunciates the words, the voice becomes hoarse.
  3. Appears irresistible thirst.
  4. Reduced swallowing reflex.
  5. With the development of the disease, a decrease in respiratory activity.

If the child has got quite a lot of toxin, it is showing signs of dyspepsia. At the lowest dose of toxic substances, the symptoms may be limited to nausea, pain in the abdomen, dryness of the mouth.

Accurate diagnosis

If you notice signs of illness should immediately go to the doctor. Only a specialist can accurately diagnose and develop competent therapy. Diagnosis of botulism includes the following activities:

  1. A survey of the patient. The physician should identify all factors that could lead to infection. For example, he interrogates the victim on the subject of the recent consumption of food.
  2. Visual inspection. Specialist detects the presence of neurological symptoms, asymmetry of the facial muscles, visual acuity, speech functionality.
  3. There is a collection of blood samples for further laboratory tests. The only way to reliably determine the presence of toxic substances in the body. The analysis takes also the feces and urine of the victim.

Botulism can easily be confused with poliomyelitis, encephalitis, poisoning with atropine. So be sure to conduct a wide range of laboratory tests.

Only the correct and timely diagnosis will enable you to put the correct diagnosis. Therapy program will be developed based on the degree of severity of the disease and the characteristics of the patient.

Therapy with the development of botulism

First aid

As soon as you detect the first signs of botulism, you should immediately call an ambulance. If serious lesions will need hospitalization. But in some cases the waiting time of arrival of a brigade of doctors may be delayed. The loss of precious hours is costly to the patient. It is recommended to take the following first aid measures:

  1. Lavage of the stomach. This procedure will allow to excrete the remnants of the infected food that has not had time to digest. At home for such procedure it is possible to use a solution of baking soda or salt. But the most effective is diluted in water potassium permanganate. While the resulting liquid should have a pale pink hue. Ensure that the particles of a substance is fully dissolved. They get into the stomach undiluted may cause burns of mucous. The victim should drink as much of the prepared solution. After this, vomiting. It is enough to provide a mild impact on the base of the tongue. This operation is repeated at least three times.
  2. After gastric lavage the victim is required to give a adsorptive drug. This can be a simple activated charcoal or one of the modern, for example, enterosgel, POLYSORB, and others. These medications will help to bind the botulinum toxin and do not give it to spread throughout the body.
  3. Bring poisonous substances from the bowel will help cleansing enema. For her, using clean boiled water. You can also use any laxative drug.
  4. If the condition of the victim deteriorates very quickly and develop symptoms of the respiratory system will have to start artificial respiration without waiting for the arrival of doctors. To do this, use the method of "mouth to nose" or "mouth to mouth". Portion of the air blown into the lungs of the patient with an interval of 5 seconds. Before that, the Airways must be clean. If there is cardiac arrest, carry out CPR.

Never neglect the first aid measures. Such actions are very effective. They will help to contain the disease and avoid serious consequences for human health.

Method of therapy

The vast majority of cases require hospitalization of the patient. Only the timely treatment of botulism in a hospital guarantees the recovery. Therapy includes the following activities:

  • For one to two days after infection, the patient undergoes gastric lavage. This helps to bring the remains of poisoned food.
  • In order to neutralize the effect of toxin used protivobotulinicheskoy serum. They are administered intravenously or intramuscularly. Often, a single administration of the drug. But if this is a little and symptoms not on the decline, the drug is administered again.
  • Take the poison from the body help infusion solutions. They are administered intravenously. Most commonly used drugs such as or reopoligljukin gemodez. They do well with botulinum toxin. Remains with the poisonexcreted in the urine.
  • Botulism, like other infectious diseases, treated with antibiotics. These drugs can destroy the pathogen. In this case, works well chloramphenicol.
  • If there is a serious violation of swallowing function, you will need to install the probe, with which the stomach of the victim will be fed liquid food.
  • When you stop the breathing of a patient connected to the ventilator.
  • In case of problems with urination we recommend to install the catheter.
  • If the poisoning is severe, the guidelines include the application of the method of hyperbaric oxygenation.

In order that the treatment is successful, it is necessary to strictly follow all clinical recommendations of a specialist. After symptoms are cured and the disease will go on recession, the patient is recommended to undergo physiotherapy. As a rule, the duration of treatment is not more than four weeks. Fatigue after botulism can persist for up to six months.

Proper nutrition

One of the essential components in the treatment of botulism is getting proper nutrition. Especially important is the diet in severe injury. If impaired swallowing function, the victim fed exclusively liquid food, which is served directly into the stomach using a probe.

Once the symptoms began to recede, the patient is transferred to a sparing diet. It will have to adhere to during treatment and for three weeks after. Experts recommend to select a menu from the following dishes:

  1. Lean meat and fish. It is better to turn to minced meat and cook for a couple.
  2. Vegetable soups.
  3. Dairy products with low fat content.
  4. Various cereals.
  5. Green tea.
  6. Fruit compotes with no added sugar.
  7. Boiled eggs, steam omelets.
  8. Jellies and mousses.

This food will help to provide the body with necessary nutrients and don't overload it. Any deviation from such a diet can lead to negative consequences.

People's methods of recovery after illness

Traditional medicine have developed several their funds for the treatment of poisoning with botulinum toxin. But remember that they can be used only after the consultation with the doctor and completing the full course of therapy traditional medicine. Such funds are allowed to apply only during the period of rehabilitation. They will help to improve health and to eliminate the effects of intoxication.

Is strictly prohibited the use of traditional medicine as the primary treatment of botulism. This will lead to negative consequences including death. Don't try to heal yourself, at the first symptoms immediately contact your doctor.

Among the most effective means of recovery after poisoning with botulinum toxin, identify the following:

  1. Teaspoon ground cinnamon zaparte Cup of boiling water. Put the mixture on the fire and wait until starts boiling. Cook for three minutes. The filtered decoction is taken a glass before Breakfast and after dinner.
  2. Three tablespoons of dried berries of black chokeberry put in a thermos. There pour 300 ml of boiling water. Ocuparte tightly and leave for 6 hours. Filter means and divide it into two equal parts. One part of the drink before Breakfast and the second before bed.
  3. Recover helps cranberry. Cup frozen berries need to be steamed six cups of boiling water. Then cook the mixture for about 10 minutes. With tolkushkoy crush berries and simmer for another 5 minutes. Slightly chilled, the beverage is filtered and drink throughout the day in small portions. The duration of treatment is not less than one and a half weeks.
  4. Three tablespoons of dried rose hips scrunch with tolkushkoy. Put it in a thermos. Pour three cups of boiling water. For at least six hours, better to leave on all night. This infusion drink a glass every morning for two weeks.
  5. To improve the health and accelerate the recovery process will help raspberry. Four tablespoons of dried berries pour half a liter of boiling water. Cover. Three hours later, filter the remedy. Take four times a day по120 ml, you Can add some honey, but only if the poisoning is not caused by this product.
  6. Good for the body and will bring herbal tea. The collection consists of sage, licorice root, mint, calamus root, toadflax, sheet sumka. All the components you need to take in the amount of 100 grams. Add 50 grams of the root of geranium. Mix well all the ingredients. Two spoons of composition separte three cups of boiling water. An hour later the infusion is ready to use. Drink it three times a day, dividing into equal parts.
  7. If, after disease there are complications in the form of numbness of limbs or paralysis of the muscles, it will help the rubbing with the use of special oils. For its preparation pour 100 grams of Laurel leaves half a liter of vegetable oil. In order to be effective, you must use fresh leaves. To insist tool is required at least two weeks. This means rubbing the limbs and lower back.

The application of such remedies is contraindicated in the presence of allergic reactions to individual components. Therefore, beforetreatment consult your doctor.

What complications can arise

If you do attempt self-treatment of botulism and miss precious time, greater the likelihood of developing serious complications. These include:

  1. Pneumonia. It's caused by a violation of the respiratory function and reduced lung capacity. Such complications are possible even with the use of antibacterial therapy.
  2. Botulinum myositis. This loss of muscle. Often there are pain in the calf muscles.
  3. Anaphylactic shock. An allergic reaction to the toxin.
  4. Purulent parotitis.
  5. Purulent tracheobronchitis type.
  6. Sepsis.
  7. An arrhythmia.
  8. Atrophy of the intestine.
  9. Hyperphosphatemia.

The effects of botulism require a separate treatment, which is assigned to the specialistsof M. During the six weeks after the primary treatment may be some symptoms, such as headaches or twang voice.


If the human body promptly received protivobotulinicheskoy serum, the prognosis is favorable. Modern methods of treatment reduced the mortality rate to 10%. The recovery period lasts about three months, followed by a full vyzdorovlenieE.

If time does not help, then the likelihood of death is high enough. Death is most often associated with paralysis of the muscles of the respiratory system. In the absence of ventilation killed about 60% of the victims.

Botulism during pregnancy

Without the use of potent drugs botulism can not get rid of. This adversely affects the status of the fetus. Most often occurs the interruption of gestationI. If the child remains alive, he will be born with developmental disorders, and numerous pathologies.

In this regard, while waiting for the baby a woman needs to carefully monitor the health and carefully used products. From smoked products and canned food is better to refuse and to comply with all prevention.

Preventive measures

Lose of body botulinum toxin is fraught with serious consequences for health. So it's easier to prevent infection. Prevention of botulism should include the following activities:

  1. Before use, all fruits and vegetables must be thoroughly washed in clean running water. You can RUB their skins with a brush. This is especially true of products designed for making home preserves. Before you get in the jar, they must pass a thorough sterilization.
  2. In the manufacture of preparations for the winter carefully follow the rules of sterilization of all instruments. Jars and lids should be carefully washed and steamed over steam or bake in the oven. This will prevent getting into a dish of microorganisms.
  3. Filling banks finished product, they try to do so, to not enter into the air. The presence of even a small air gap creates a favorable environment for the life of clostridia.
  4. To avoid poisoning using proven recipes of homemade preserves. Due to the specific requirements of storage experts do not recommend harvested mushrooms and greens, and to produce a homemade meat products.
  5. Never eat foods on which there are visible signs of damage. If you doubt the quality of food is better to throw it away.
  6. The product, which subsequently will undergo a heat treatment, for example, meat products must be stored in the cold. The temperature should not exceed 10 degrees.
  7. Never buy canned goods from the manufacturer unknown. By purchasing such a product in the store, be sure to check the expiration date. If canned food is Packed in iron cans, check their integrity. Never use dented, deformed cans.
  8. If you notice that the cans bulging lid, discard them without opening along with Tara.
  9. Strictly adhere to the rules of personal hygiene and sanitary norms. Several times a week, spend in the house wet cleaning, do not allow the accumulation of debris.
  10. If you are injured, accompanied by the formation of an open wound, rinse it immediately and treat with antiseptic. The only way you will be able to prevent infection with Clostridium and other dangerous microorganisms.

Prevention of the disease must be respected and at the state level. They include control over the production of canned products, sausages, meat and fish semi-finished products. Special attention should be paid to shelf life and storage conditions of the products.

Botulism is a dangerous disease that requires careful treatment. Only the application of all therapeutic measures can guarantee a recovery. Otherwise, the probability of a lethal outcome. Therefore, in no case do not self-medicate. Upon detection yourself or your loved ones symptoms immediately call an ambulance. Always remember prevention.