People at Risk
Botulism is a rare, but serious disease. Most people will go through their entire lives without getting sick with botulism.
Certain actions can increase your risk of getting sick with botulism.
- People who inject certain drugs, such as black tar heroin, put themselves at greater risk of getting wound botulism.
- People who drink certain kinds of alcohol they make themselves, such as prisoners who drink “pruno” or “hooch” made in prisons, put themselves at greater risk of getting foodborne botulism.
- People who eat home-canned or home-fermented foods that haven’t been prepared safely also have a greater chance of becoming seriously sick. These foods may include many home-canned vegetables and meats, and traditional Alaska Native fermented foods.
- People who get botulinum toxin injections for cosmetic reasons (such as for wrinkles) or medical reasons (such as for migraine headaches) may be more likely to get iatrogenic botulism if the dose they receive is too large, if they are children or weigh less than a typical adult, or if they have an underlying problem with their nerves or muscles.
Page last reviewed: October 4, 2018