Sacramento County Botulism Outbreak
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Food Poisoning Litigation Lawyer. When people purchase food from a grocery store, they are usually more concerned with its taste than its safety. Unfortunately, safety proved to be a major issue for a handful of people who purchased foods from Valley Oak Food and Fuel, located in nearby Walnut Grove.
Concern for Botulism
Early on Sunday, the Sacramento County of Public Health issued a warning regarding an outbreak of a disease called Botulism that placed five people in a medical center. All of the individuals have been labeled in serious condition due to the rare, and possibly fatal, version of food poisoning that Botulism delivers. While the mode of contraction is still being investigated, officials have stated that dairy products, pre-made sandwiches, and a variety of other snacks from the Valley Oak Food and Fuel in Walnut Grove is likely where the outbreak started. Parts of the store have now been roped off to warn people of the potentially dangerous situation regarding the food products in the store.
Symptoms of Botulism Poisoning
Botulism, unlike E. Coli or Norovirus, is a rare form of food poisoning due to the health regulations that control the way food is prepared and delivered. If someone has contracted the Botulinum toxin from the bacterial source, the symptoms include:
- Dry mouth
- Significant difficulties with swallowing and speaking
- Weakness of the face on both sides
- Blurry vision, double vision, or trouble seeing (similar to other common eye injuries)
- Drooping eyelids (also known as ptosis)
- Respiratory difficulties, including coughing and breathing
- Possible nausea, vomiting, stomach pains, and cramping
- General paralysis (different from spinal cord injuries)
These symptoms usually start somewhere between 12 and 36 hours after the initial toxin has been ingested; however, the range can vary widely depending on the age of the individual, the size of the patient, and the amount of toxin that was ingested (similar to Salmonella). Furthermore, patients may experience a few, but not all, of these symptoms.
Treatment of Botulism Poisoning
Before the treatment can be administered, the poisoning must be properly diagnosed. Botulism food poisoning is diagnosed clinically, meaning that it is diagnosed mostly based on the symptoms and not on imaging or laboratory tests. Botulism is a descending paralytic poisoning, meaning that the paralysis will start at the top and work its way towards the patient’s feet. This distinguishes it from other forms of paralysis, such as Guillan-Barre. If a patient has been diagnosed with Botulism, the treatment is to administer the antitoxin. This will stop the poisoning in its tracks; however, any damage that has been done will take time to heal. During this time, the patient may require breathing assistance, particularly if the respiratory muscles have been paralyzed with the toxin. As the nerves regenerate, the patient may require rehabilitation of peripheral nerve injuries.
Seek Medical Attention
Because the scope of the outbreak in Walnut Grove is not yet fully known, medical professionals everywhere are urging people who feel that they are experiencing any of the symptoms described above to seek medical attention immediately. If Botulism food poisoning paralyzes the respiratory muscles, it can stop a person from breathing, leading to death.
Sacramento Botulism & Food Poisoning Attorney
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Food Poisoning Lawyer. In today’s era, Botulism food poisoning is exceedingly rare due to the ways we prepare our foods. If you, or a loved one has been harmed by Botulism food poisoning, please contact me at (916) 921-6400 for friendly, free advice. My toll-free number is (800) 404-5400.
I am a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum in the state of California. This is a group of some of the top-rated trial lawyers in the country. Members belonging to the forum have obtained verdicts worth over $1 Million Dollars.
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Photo Attribution: Content Providers by way of Centers for Disease Control (CDC) [Public domain images at Wikimedia Commons]