Micrograph of Clostridium botulinum

Enlarge / Micrograph of Clostridium botulinum (credit: Getty | BSIP)

Health officials in Europe are warning of an outbreak of botulism linked to botched weight loss procedures carried out in Turkey that aimed to paralyze stomach muscles to reduce appetite. So far, authorities have identified 67 cases—53 in Turkey, 12 in Germany, and one each in Austria and Switzerland.

Botulism is a life-threatening neuroparalytic condition caused by the botulinum toxin, which is made by the bacterial species Clostridium botulinum. There a several forms of botulism, but in this outbreak, the cases are a form called iatrogenic botulism, which occurs when too much toxin is injected during medical procedures. Iatrogenic botulism is associated with generalized muscle weakness, drooping eyes, difficulty swallowing, and difficulty breathing. The cases in the outbreak have ranged from mild to severe, with a number of people ending up in intensive care, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) reported.

The botulinum toxin is one of the most poisonous natural substances known; a dose of just 1 nanogram per kilogram weight is lethal. Nevertheless, it has been used for cosmetic purposes, such as …read more

Source:: Ars Technica


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