How is botulism diagnosed?

Updated: Feb 15, 2019
  • Author: Kirk M Chan-Tack, MD; Chief Editor: Pranatharthi Haran Chandrasekar, MBBS, MD  more...
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A mouse neutralization bioassay confirms botulism by isolating the botulinum toxin. Toxin may be identified in the following:

  • Serum

  • Stool

  • Vomitus

  • Gastric aspirate

  • Suspected foods

C botulinum may be grown on selective media from samples of stool or foods. Note that the specimens for toxin analysis should be refrigerated, but culture samples of C botulinum should not be refrigerated. Wound cultures that grow C botulinum suggest the presence of wound botulism.

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