An uncommon but potentially very serious illness, a type of food poisoning, that produces paralysis of muscles, via a nerve toxin called botulinum toxin ("botox") that is manufactured by bacteria named Clostridium botulinum. There are various types of botulism, including: {{}}Food-borne botulism — from eating food that contains the botulinum toxin. Wound botulism — caused by the toxin produced in a wound infected with the bacteria Clostridium botulinum. Infant intestinal botulism — when an infant consumes the spores of the bacteria, the bacteria grow in the baby's intestines and release toxin. Adult intestinal botulism — due to infection with Clostridium botulinum in adults, typically following abdominal surgical procedures. The symptoms of botulism can range from mild, including transient nausea and vomiting, to severe cases that progress to heart and lung failure and, sometimes, death. Food-borne botulism occurs typically in unrefrigerated or poorly refrigerated foods and foods without preservatives (especially uncooked or half-cooked meats). It can be prevented by careful use of refrigeration and preservative techniques, and the toxin can be destroyed with heat.
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Food poisioning usually caused by the ingestion of the neurotoxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum from improperly canned or preserved food; mainly affects humans, chickens, water fowl, cattle, sheep, and horses, and is characterized by paralysis in all species; can be fatal; swine, dogs, and cats are somewhat resistant. In some cases ( e.g., in infants) b. may be formed in the gastrointestinal tract by ingested organisms. SEE ALSO: Clostridium botulinum. [L. botulus, sausage]
- wound b. b. resulting from infection of a wound.

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bot·u·lism 'bäch-ə-.liz-əm n acute food poisoning caused by botulinum toxin produced in food by a bacterium of the genus Clostridium (C. botulinum) and characterized by muscle weakness and paralysis, disturbances of vision, swallowing, and speech, and a high mortality rate see BOTULINUM TOXIN, LIMBERNECK

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a serious form of food poisoning from foods containing the toxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium. The toxin selectively affects the central nervous system; in fatal cases, death is often caused by heart and lung failure resulting from a malfunction of the cardiac and respiratory centres of the brain. The bacterium thrives in improperly preserved foods, typically canned raw meats. The toxin, being rather unstable to heat, is invariably destroyed in cooking.

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bot·u·lism (bochґə-liz-əm) [L. botulus 1. sausage] any poisoning caused by Clostridium botulinum in the body; it produces a neurotoxin called botulinum toxin. 2. specifically, in humans, food poisoning with neurotoxicity resulting from the eating of spoiled food contaminated with Clostridium botulinum. Characteristics include central nervous system symptoms with motor disturbances; visual and oculomotor difficulties; and disturbances of secretion such as dryness of the mouth and pharynx with coughing. It is usually due to ingestion of preformed toxin; sometimes (such as in infant botulism) the toxins can be produced in the gastrointestinal tract by ingested organisms. Called also foodborne b. See also allantiasis. 3. any of various neurotoxic syndromes in animals caused by ingestion of feed contaminated with Clostridium botulinum, such as moldy hay, grain, or silage. See lamziekte, limberneck, and shaker foal syndrome.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

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  • botulism — 1878, from Ger. Botulismus (1878), coined in German from L. botulus sausage (see BOWEL (Cf. bowel)) + ismus suffix of action or state. Sickness first traced to eating tainted sausage …   Etymology dictionary

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  • Botulism — DiseaseDisorder infobox Name = Botulism DiseasesDB = 2811 ICD10 = ICD10|A|05|1|a|00 ICD9 = ICD9|005.1 eMedicineSubj = med eMedicineTopic = 238 eMedicine mult = eMedicine2|emerg|64 MedlinePlus = 000598 MeshName = Botulism MeshNumber =… …   Wikipedia

  • botulism — /boch euh liz euhm/, n. Pathol. a sometimes fatal disease of the nervous system acquired from spoiled foods in which botulin is present, esp. improperly canned or marinated foods. [1875 80; < G Botulismus, equiv. to L botul(us) sausage (a source… …   Universalium

  • botulism — [19] The fact that Latin botulus was used metaphorically for ‘intestine’ is in this case just a red herring; its principal meaning was ‘sausage’, and it was the discovery of the foodpoisoning germ in cooked meats, such assausages, which led to… …   The Hutchinson dictionary of word origins

  • botulism —   n. sausage poisoning; poisoning by any infected preserved meat.    ♦ botuliform, a. sausage shaped.    ♦ botulinic, n. toxin that causes botulism.    ♦ botulinus n. bacterium that produces botulism.    ♦ botulinic a …   Dictionary of difficult words

  • botulism — [19] The fact that Latin botulus was used metaphorically for ‘intestine’ is in this case just a red herring; its principal meaning was ‘sausage’, and it was the discovery of the foodpoisoning germ in cooked meats, such assausages, which led to… …   Word origins

  • botulism — [[t]bɒ̱tʃʊlɪzəm[/t]] N UNCOUNT Botulism is a serious form of food poisoning. [MEDICAL] …   English dictionary

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