Published Date: 2004-10-30 23:50:00
Subject: PRO/EDR> Botulism, dried fish - Ukraine (Kharkov)
Archive Number: 20041030.2930
BOTULISM, DRIED FISH - UKRAINE (KHARKOV)
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail, a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: 30 Oct 2004
From: Vadim Melnik, ProMED-mail correspondent in Ukraine
Source: Objective Media group, Ukraine, 22 Oct 2004 [in Russian, translated
by Mod.NR; edited]
For the last month there were 6 patients diagnosed with botulism in Kharkov.
Health officials are saying that this outbreak will not lead to an epidemic.
Botulism is an acute infectious intestinal disease caused by a toxin. Humans
ingest it in infected foodstuffs, such as smoked fish or canned mushrooms
[and canned corn -- see ref. below, and home-cooked dishes. - Mod.JW].
At present, 2 women are hospitalized with a diagnosis of botulism. They were
admitted on 12 Oct 2004. According to physicians they are still very weak and
have vision problems, but are not in a life-threatening situation. They
report eating dried fish they bought in a metro station.
Physicians stated that 5 out of 6 patients admitted to the infectious
diseases hospital with botulism were women. According to the physicians, men
drink alcohol with fish, and alcohol reduces the risk of getting infected [in
fact, there is no infection with a microbe, it is poisoning from the toxin. -
Mod.JW]. Physicians are warning the population that it is hard to
distinguish a product infected with botulism from a clean one.
The sanitary epidemiological surveillance center reports that people in
Kharkov get botulism quite often due to their eating habits -- on average 10
cases a year. According to their statistics 9 out of 10 cases are lethal.
This time, none of the 6 patients died. According to expert opinion, the most
dangerous are the fish caught in the Kremenchug reservoir, because physicians
discovered microbes there that produce the botulism toxin. According to
Valentina Gridina, chief of the hygiene department of the sanitary
surveillance center, before the reservoir was built there must have been a
burial ground of cattle on the spot, or animals were herded there. [I am
afraid she is confusing _Clostridium botulinum_ with anthrax. - Mod.JW]
[Alcohol does NOT cure or prevent botulism. Alcohol is a diuretic and may
make the person drink copious amounts of fluids, which could potentially
wash out the toxin/or cause solids to move faster out of the body. Alcohol
will work for ethelyne glycol poisoning, but NOT botulism. - Mod.TG]