Botulism believed to be cause of two Grant County deaths - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Botulism believed to be cause of two Grant County deaths

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Botulism is rare in Washington State but a very serious illness that can occur in all age groups. Botulism is rare in Washington State but a very serious illness that can occur in all age groups.
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GRANT COUNTY, Wash. -

The Grant County Health District is investigating two deaths that they say were likely caused by botulism. 

The suspected source of the botulism was likely caused by home-canned food, the GCHD said in a press release, however they are still waiting for official confirmation. 

“The Health District staff and I are saddened by the deaths and we send our condolences to the family,” states Alexander Brzezny, Grant County Health Officer. He adds, “The family has been very helpful and cooperative during this sad time and we are very appreciative of their help.”

According to the GCHD, Botulism is rare in Washington State but a very serious illness that can occur in all age groups. Statewide, over the last 10 years, the Washington State Department of Health reported an average of between zero and two cases of food-related botulism each year.

Botulism is a serious, muscle-paralyzing disease caused by a toxin (poisonous substance) made by Clostridium botulinum, a bacteria found naturally in the soil. There are three main types of botulism: foodborne, infant, and wound. Historically, home-canned vegetables, fruits and meat products have been the most common cause of foodborne botulism outbreaks in the United States.

Symptoms generally begin 12 to 36 hours after eating a contaminated food, but they can occur as early as 6 hours or as late as 10 days.

What are the symptoms?
Regardless of how the toxin enters the body, the results are the same. The first symptoms may include nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. As the disease progresses, symptoms may include:

  • ? double vision
  • ? blurred vision,
  • ? drooping eyelids,
  • ? slurred speech,
  • ? difficulty swallowing,
  • ? dry mouth,
  • ? difficulty breathing or shortness of breath,
  • ? and muscle weakness.

Finally, if untreated, these symptoms may progress to cause paralysis of the respiratory muscles, arms, legs, and trunk and ultimately death. If you suspect you are ill, seek medical attention immediately.

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