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Release of Botulism Antitoxin

Botulism antitoxin for patients with signs and symptoms of human foodborne or wound botulism is released to physicians by CDC from its quarantine stations located throughout the United States. Any health-care provider requesting botulism antitoxin should first contact his/her state health department. A list of daytime and 24-hour telephone numbers (if available) is published to assist those seeking botulism antitoxin (Table 2). If the state health department is unreachable during nights or on weekends, CDC may be called at (404) 329-2888 (24-hour number)

When botulism is suspected, a careful food history, especially for home-canned vegetables or fruits, should be sought, and the suspected food items, saved. Stool and serum should be obtained from patients with possible botulism and refrigerated. Electromyography should be done using repetitive stimulation at 40 Hz or greater. When indicated, cerebrospinal fluid should be examined for white blood cells and protein, and a Tensilon challenge test should be done. The patient's vital capacity should be monitored. The results of these tests are helpful in evaluating the need for botulism antitoxin. Reported by Enteric Diseases Br, Div of Bacterial Diseases, Center for Infectious Diseases, CDC.

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Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report
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