Case of the Month #10 - botulism

Published 03/02/2022

What are the causes of botulism?

  • Clostridium botulinim is a naturally occurring Gram positive organism. 
  • The organism is isolated in only 41% of cases of Botulism
  • Human disease is caused by Serotypes A,B or E
  • The organism is found in soil, dust and aquatic sediments. 
  • 5 main vectors:  
  • Food borne  
  • Wound botulism (most common in UK) 
  • Intestinal colonisation (infants) 
  • Deliberate release (weapons) 
  • Iatrogenic 
  • Wound colonisation was first described in 2000, exclusively amongst the intravenous drug using population. 
  • Direct injection of heroin, often dissolved in citric acid, into muscle or under the skin provides optimum conditions for bacterial growth. (“Skin popping”)