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Botulism Outbreak Linked to Nopal Salad at Event

Botulism Outbreak Linked to Nopal Salad at Event

United States: A recent botulism outbreak in Fresno County made ten people to the hospital after they ate a nopal salad at a specific family event. This particular outbreak happened in late June at two gatherings in Caruthers and Clovis.

People who ate the salad had symptoms like dizziness and blurred vision. Doctors found out they had botulism, which is a severe illness caused by a harmful toxin that can weaken muscles and cause breathing problem.

Cure for this botulism is an antitoxin that health officials say had to be get  from a state facility to treat the local patients. Since receiving the antitoxin, most of the patients have been discharged. Two sisters, however, remain in the intensive care unit.

Antitoxin Treatment and Patient Recovery

Fresno County Interim Health Officer Dr. Rais Vohra said the antitoxin was delivered within hours in a way straight out of a Hollywood movie.

“It’s literally flown from the airport to our airport, where California Highway Patrol is waiting, and then they hand-deliver the package to the hospital where the pharmacy team is waiting to accept it,” he said.

Vohra said it was “just a phenomenally swift response.”

How the Outbreak Happened

As  mentioned in Kvpr news the toxin that causes botulism can be found in nature but also grows in foods prepared or stored under inadequate conditions. Norma Sanchez, an infectious disease specialist with the county, said that the culprit in this case – a salad that contained nopales, a kind of cactus – that had been canned at home by the chef.

Investigators came to this conclusion after interviewing attendees and sampling food scraps that had been picked out of the trash left behind after the gatherings.

Important Food Safety Tips

“It was 100-and-some degrees out there, the food had been out there for a couple of days already, so I was just amazed at the results that came out of this food testing,” she said.

Rare but Serious Illness

When canning foods at home, health officials say it’s important to follow proper guidelines for sterilization, acid content balanced by the appropriate amount of salt and sugar, and food storage conditions like temperature.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, throughout the U.S., only a few dozen cases of foodborne botulism are reported each year.

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