Wednesday, 23 May, 2018

Man dies in California botulism outbreak from nacho-cheese

Johnnie Parks | 24 May, 2017, 07:24

California health officials are still awaiting lab-test results on some of the nacho-cheese sauce confiscated from a gas station but said Tuesday they believe botulism contamination that killed one person and sickened nine others was limited to a single, opened bag of the sauce.

"While there are still unanswered questions about this outbreak, these tragic illnesses are important reminders to be vigilant about food safety", said CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith in a press release.

The man who died, Martin Galindo, had been in the hospital for several weeks before his death, according to a GoFundMe page created by his family.

"We immediately retested samples from the relevant lot of cheese, and it remains clear of any contamination", Beringause said.

The remaining patients are still hospitalized and on ventilators, since one of the effects of botulism poisoning is paralysis, including of the muscles needed to breathe. It started last month after a few customers who'd eaten Valley Oak Food & Fuel's nacho-cheese sauce suddenly ended up in the ER.

In total, 10 statewide cases of botulism from four counties have been reported to the California Department of Health in this outbreak, state health officials said Monday.

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The Mayo Clinic reports that foodborne botulism is caused by toxins from bacteria called Clostridium botulinum, which thrives in environments with low oxygen, such as canned food.

The National Organization for Rare Disorders says there were 199 confirmed and 14 probable cases of botulism reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2015, the previous year for which statistics were available. It is usually treated with anti-toxin.

Botulism can be a silent killer, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.

"The toxin that causes botulism can be found in foods that are not properly processed or stored". Between five and 10 percent of botulism cases are fatal according to the World Health Organization. "It is odorless and colorless, so it is not possible to tell if a product is contaminated just by looking at it".

Cook - Make sure foods are cooked to the right temperature. These foods include asparagus, beets, green beans, potatoes, some tomatoes, seafood and meat.

Botulism outbreaks are rare, according to the CDC's website.

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