Current Trends in Botulism in the United States

Michael H. Merson, James M. Hughes, V. R. Dowell, Andrew Taylor, William H. Barker, Eugene J. Gangarosa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Between 1970 and 1973, thirty outbreaks of food-borne botulism involving 91 cases and 21 deaths (23%) were reported to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Three of the 30 outbreaks were attributed to commercial foods. Six cases of wound botulism were also reported. Electromyography and a recently developed test for detection of botulinal toxin in human feces have facilitated the laboratory diagnosis of botulism. Intensive respiratory care and elimination of toxin from the gastrointestinal tract remain the most important aspects of therapy. The efficacy of botulinal antitoxin is unclear, and the rate of untoward reactions to its administration appears to be about 20%. Education of the home canner and enforcement of federal regulations established for the canning of low-acid foods by the food industry are vital to the prevention and control of botulism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1305-1308
Number of pages4
JournalJAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association
Issue number10
StatePublished - Sep 2 1974

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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