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UC Riverside researchers publish paper on botulism detection system

e of the six most dangerous bioterrorism threats. Other such bio-threats include anthrax, plague and smallpox.

"The important thing to note is that the technique is very general and, in the future, can be done without the use of the atomic-force microscope. This also means that it will find uses in fields outside (medical) toxin sensors," said Mohideen, adding that the process can be used in food and water quality applications.

The key to the process, however, is its timeliness, according to the researchers. Antitoxin vaccinations can work only if applied quickly, before the onset of symptoms. Symptoms of food-borne botulism intoxication frequently take from 12 to 36 hours to develop, according to the CDC.

"When you think that we've cut the detection time from a few hours or a couple of days, down to a few minutes, that's what's important," Parpura said. "The shorter the detection time, the more time you have to treat people and that makes a great deal of difference when dealing with this neurotoxin."

"We are working on approaches to further reduce the detection time and substantially improve the sensitivity," Mohideen added.

Botulism, while rare in the United States, is considered a medical emergency in which roughly 10 percent of those afflicted die. Those who survive may take weeks or months to recover and frequently undergo intensive hospital care with extensive use of ventilators.


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Contact: Ricardo Duran
ricardo.duran@ucr.edu
909-787-5893
University of California - Riverside
4-Dec-2003


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