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Botulism is a neuroparalytic disease in humans and animals resulting from the actions of botulinum neurotoxins produced by and rare strains of and . are widely dispersed in nature by virtue of their ability to form resistant endospores. Since botulism is a true toxemia and botulinum neurotoxin is solely responsible for the illness, foodborne, infant, and wound botulism are clinically similar. The major treatment of botulism is supportive nursing care, with specific attention given to respiratory ability and the need for mechanical ventilation. The current good safety record for commercial foods is due, in large part, to the diligence of food manufacturers in formulating, processing, and controlling temperature during distribution of foods. Foodborne botulism is the class of botulism that can most readily be prevented through proper food processing, preservation, and temperature control. Chlorine and related compounds are among the most effective chemicals for destruction of spores. In general, botulinal neurotoxins are not affected by freezing, particularly in the presence of proteins and organic acids at pH values of 5 to 6.5. Brining is the most common practice for reducing water activity (a) in food preservation. Temperature is commonly used to prevent growth in foods. Temperature abuse is one of the most common mishandling practices that result in botulinum neurotoxin production and botulism outbreaks. Botulinum neurotoxin is absorbed through mucous membranes, and three cases of botulism were documented in laboratory workers who apparently inhaled the toxin.

Citation: Johnson E. 2013. , p 441-463. In Doyle M, Buchanan R (ed), Food Microbiology. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818463.ch17
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Figure 17.1

Portrayal of a person with the flaccid paralysis symptoms characteristic of botulism. Drawing prepared by James K. Archer, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA. doi:10.1128/9781555818463.ch17f1

Citation: Johnson E. 2013. , p 441-463. In Doyle M, Buchanan R (ed), Food Microbiology. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818463.ch17
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Table 17.1

Primary hosts and gene location of toxin genes in serotypes A through G

Citation: Johnson E. 2013. , p 441-463. In Doyle M, Buchanan R (ed), Food Microbiology. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818463.ch17
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Table 17.2

Groupings and relevant growth and resistance properties of botulinogenic clostridia

Citation: Johnson E. 2013. , p 441-463. In Doyle M, Buchanan R (ed), Food Microbiology. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818463.ch17
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Table 17.3

Typical foods associated with foodborne botulism

Citation: Johnson E. 2013. , p 441-463. In Doyle M, Buchanan R (ed), Food Microbiology. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818463.ch17
Generic image for table
Table 17.4

Primary physical treatments and antimicrobials used in formulation of botulism-safe foods

Citation: Johnson E. 2013. , p 441-463. In Doyle M, Buchanan R (ed), Food Microbiology. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818463.ch17
Generic image for table
Table 17.5

Nutritional substrates metabolized by botulinogenic clostridia

Citation: Johnson E. 2013. , p 441-463. In Doyle M, Buchanan R (ed), Food Microbiology. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818463.ch17

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