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Epidemiologic Notes and Reports Restaurant-Associated Botulism from Mushrooms Bottled In-House -- Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Eleven suspected cases of botulism were reported in Vancouver, British Columbia, between February 18 and February 22, 1987. Five of the patients have been hospitalized; three of these are on respirators. All of the persons involved ate in the Five Sails Restaurant of the Pan Pacific Hotel on the Vancouver waterfront on February 13, 14, or 16. A case-control study using 32 controls demonstrated a highly significant correlation with eating chantarelle mushrooms bottled in-house (odds ratio (OR) infinite, p = 0.000057) or a lobster and red snapper meal that contained the mushrooms (OR = 31, p = 0.0057). Toxin has not yet been identified in sera from the patients; one specimen of liquid from the bottled mushrooms has yielded Type A botulinal toxin. Three bottles of the mushrooms were estimated to have been used between February 13 and 16; restaurant records revealed that 31 persons had been exposed to the mushrooms between February 12 and 17. The restaurant was closed on February 18; active case-finding is continuing in Vancouver and surrounding regions. Reported by HE McLean, MD, S Peck, MB, G Eng, BSC, City of Vancouver Health Dept, RG Mathias, MD, Dept of Health Care and Epidemiology, University of British Columbia, WA Black, MD, British Columbia Provincial Laboratories, GB Morgan, Health Protection Branch, Health and Welfare Canada, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; Enteric Diseases Branch, Div of Bacterial Disease, Center for Infectious Diseases, CDC.

Editorial Note

Editorial Note: Although restaurants are not frequently identified as the location of botulism outbreaks, they represent a risk of widespread public exposure to contaminated foods. While foods served in restaurants were associated with 4% of botulism outbreaks in the United States between 1976 and 1984, they resulted in 42% of the cases during that period (1). In addition, restaurant-associated outbreaks in major centers of transit such as Vancouver may result in widely-distributed cases which may therefore not be recognized for a substantial period of time (2). Patients with neurologic illness resembling botulism should be asked about recent travel to Vancouver. Clinicians in the United States can report any suspected associated cases to their state epidemiologist. Cases outside Canada and the United States can be reported to the Communicable Disease Division, Bureau of Epidemiology, Laboratory Center for Disease Control, Ottawa, Canada.


  1. MacDonald KL, Cohen ML, Blake PA. The changing epidemiology of adult botulism in the United States. Am_J_Epidemiol 1986;124:794-9.

  2. CDC. International outbreak of restaurant-associated botulism -- Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. MMWR 1985;34:643.

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