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Botulism

The Canning Connection, Clostridium Botulinum, Symptoms, Treatment, Prevention

Botulism is an extremely serious disease caused by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. C. botulinum release one of the most potent toxins known—one gram of botulinum toxin theoretically can kill one million people. The toxin is swift-acting. It kills by binding to nerve cells, thereby causing paralysis of the muscles used in breathing.

First coined in the 1870s, the term botulism comes from the Latin word for sausage, botulus, since botulism used to be associated with eating sausage. Although botulism is still commonly associated with food contamination in the United States, it is more likely to occur from eating plants, not meat.


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