Botulinus antitoxin is given.
Breathing trouble requires hospitalization. The health care team will establish a clear airway and provide supportive therapy. A tube may be inserted through the nose or mouth into the windpipe to provide an airway for oxygen. A breathing machine may be needed.
Intravenous fluids can be given when the patient has swallowing difficulties. A feeding tube may be inserted in the nose.
Cases of botulism are reported to state health authorities or the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by health care providers so that the contaminated food can be removed from stores. Antibiotics are often given, but have not been shown to always be beneficial.
Prompt treatment significantly reduces the risk of death.
Go to the emergency room or call the local emergency number (such as 911) if you suspect botulism.
Bartlett JG. Clostridial infections. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier. 2007: chap 319.
Bleck TP. Clostridium botulinum (Botulism). In: Mandell GL, Bennett JE, Dolin R, eds. Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier; 2005: chap 243.
Long SS. Clostridium botulinum (Botulism). In: Long SS, Pickering LK, Prober CG. Principles and Practice of Pediatric Infectious Diseases. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier; 2008: chap 189.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Diagnosis and management of foodborne illnesses: a primer for physicians and other health care professionals. MMWR Recomm Rep. 2004;53(RR-4):1-33.
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