An outbreak of foodborne botulism associated with food sold at a salvage store in Texas.
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.
Kalluri, P; Crowe, C; Reller, M; Gaul, L; Hayslett, J; Barth, S; Eliasberg, S; Ferreira, J; Holt, K; Bengston, S; Hendricks, K; Sobel, J
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