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Research Feature

NIAID-supported researchers are seeking a new way to treat and prevent botulism, a rare but serious paralytic illness caused by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. Read more.


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Botulism is a rare but serious illness. Each year, U.S. healthcare providers report an average of 145 cases of botulism to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Although there are several kinds of botulism, this topic will focus on botulism caused by eating contaminated food. About 10 to 30 outbreaks of foodborne botulism are reported annually to CDC. This illness does not occur frequently, but it can be fatal if not treated quickly and properly.

Understanding Botulism

Last Updated August 19, 2010

Last Reviewed August 19, 2010