Statutory notification

Public health management

Important information

  • Infectious agent: toxin of Clostridium botulinum bacteria. Other Clostridium species such as C.butyricum, C.baratii and C. argentinense may also produce botulinum toxin.
  • Transmission: food-borne (ingestion of pre-formed toxin or spores) or environmental (wound contamination with spores).
  • Incubation period: Dependent on form of botulism. Foodborne botulism (from ingestion of preformed toxin) usually 12-72 hr (range 2 hr -8 days). Intestinal botulism (from ingestion of spores) up to 30 days in infants, unknown in adults. Wound botulism 4-14 days.
  • Infectious period: Person-to-person transmission does not occur.
  • Case exclusion: Do not exclude.
  • Contact exclusion: Do not exclude.
  • Treatment: Supportive therapy, including a ventilator for breathing difficulties and intravenous fluids if the person can’t swallow. Clostridium botulinum anti-toxin should be given as early as possible to lessen the severity of symptoms.
  • Immunisation: None available.
  • Case follow-up: is conducted by the Communicable Disease Control Directorate.


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