Monday, May 8, 2017

Cases of Botulism Linked to Food Sold at CA Gas Station

In Sacramento CA, there have been 5 cases of botulism that seem to be linked to food sold at a gas station.

Sacramento Bee
Botulism outbreak suspected to have started at Sacramento region gas station
May 07, 2017 10:38 AM
By Ellen Garrison

Sacramento County Public Health officials are investigating a botulism outbreak after several people who ate prepared food from the Valley Oak Food and Fuel gas station in Walnut Grove contracted the possibly fatal form of food poisoning.

County Public Health Officer Dr. Olivia Kasirye said five cases are under investigation and the affected people are in serious condition at local hospitals. Four of the five confirmed they’d eaten prepared food from the gas station. Kasirye said the county wants to ensure that anyone who has eaten at the gas station since April 23 and is experiencing botulism symptoms receives immediate medical attention.

“The symptoms do vary a bit,” Kasirye said. “The most common ones a person might experience are stomach cramping and vomiting.”

The more serious symptoms are blurry vision, slurred speech, droopy eyelids and trouble breathing. Botulism is a rare and potentially fatal type of food poisoning caused by a bacteria called Clostridium botulinum, which produces a nerve toxin. If it affects the respiratory system, it can cause a person to stop breathing, Kasirye said.

Hospitals treat botulism with an antitoxin followed by intravenous liquids and breathing support, she said.

Outbreaks of botulism are rare enough that Kasirye said she can’t remember the last time the county had one. Individual cases pop up occasionally, but it’s unusual to see five cases in two weeks. County officials learned of the cases because hospitals are required to report patients with botulism.

A county news release said the department is collaborating with the state Department of Public Health and the county Department of Environmental Management, which has the authority to stop the sale of prepared food at the gas station.

Ellen Garrison: 916-321-1920, @EllenGarrison

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