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Foodborne Illness

Can you tell me how many people get botulism each year from eating improperly canned green beans?

Rating: 57

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the estimated number of cases of foodborne botulism is 58. Keep in mind that the estimated number of cases of foodborne illnesses is 76,000,000. Therefore, in the scheme of things, foodborne botulism is not considered to be a major cause of foodborne illness. In recent years, there has not been a reported outbreak associated with home-canned food, probably because we have been quite diligent about sharing proper home canning procedures with consumers. Historically, as you well know, low-acid canned foods have been associated with botulism. However, recent outbreaks have involved foods not usually associated with botulism, such as: 1977 - 59 cases/home canned peppers 1978 - 34 cases/potato salad 1984 - 38 cases/saut? onion 1985 - 36 cases/garlic in oil In the year 2000, the mortality rate of foodborne botulism was about 14%. To treat botulinum poisoning, intravenous administration as soon as possible of two vials of trivalent (ABE) botulinum antitoxin, available from CDC (Center for Disease Control), Atlanta, through state health departments is considered a part of routine treatment. Serum should be collected to identify the specific toxin before antitoxin is administered but antitoxin should not be withheld pending testing results. Most important is immediate access to an intensive care unit so that respiratory failure, the usual cause of death, can be anticipated and managed promptly.

PREPARED BY: Angela M. Fraser, Ph.D., Associate Professor/Food Safety Specialist, NC State University in July 2004

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