Botulism is a disease caused by toxin made by certain types of bacteria. The toxin is called botulinum toxin. It is one of the deadliest toxins known.
The bacteria that make this toxin are found naturally in many places, but it’s rare for them to make people sick. However, the toxin could be used in a biological attack. A biological attack is the intentional release of germs, or the toxins they make, that can sicken or kill people, livestock, or crops. Some countries with biological weapons programs have made the toxin that causes botulism. Some groups have tried unsuccessfully to use the toxin to intentionally harm people.
Public health authorities know the toxin could be used in a biological attack. They study the toxin and the disease it causes to be prepared if a biological attack ever happens.