What is Botulism? - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

What is Botulism?

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Botulism starts as a small bacteria that can produce dangerous toxins, if in the right environment.

It's most commonly found in unsanitary conditions and becomes a problem when people eat food that has been contaminated. When this happens, the bacteria attacks the body's nerve endings, which can lead to paralysis.

Other symptoms include blurry vision, difficulty swallowing, slurred speech, and heavy or droopy eye lids.

There is an anti-toxin that can be taken, if the disease is caught in time, but in some cases, if it isn't, patients need to be hooked up to a ventilator to breath and can take up to 6 months for patients to be healthy again.

In some rare cases, if left untreated, botulism can be fatal. Symptoms usually appear 12 to 36 hours after being exposed to the toxin but it may take up to 8 days.

Botulism is not contagious person to person. It can only be spread by eating the contaminated food source.