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Symptoms of foodborne botulism may help predict fatality

Co-author Dr. Jeremy Sobel of the CDC emphasized that the study's findings were specific to the type of botulism found in the Republic of Georgia's soil, and reiterated that accurate diagnosis and rapid treatment were essential in any case of botulism infection. "The important thing is that physicians quickly identify the illness based on the clinical syndrome," said Dr. Sobel, "and that upon suspicion of botulism the physicians contact the public health system immediately so that the source of the toxin can be identified and the population warned and protected." Patients should receive antitoxin and be placed in intensive care as soon as possible, he added.

In an accompanying editorial commentary, other CDC researchers suggest additional preparations necessary for responding to a botulism outbreak: sufficient supplies of antitoxin and other medical supplies should be available and "a coordinated medical system and response plan" should be in place.


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Contact: Jeff Minerd
jminerd@idsociety.org
703-299-0412
Infectious Diseases Society of America
4-Aug-2004


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