Which clinical history findings are characteristic of foodborne botulism?

Updated: Feb 15, 2019
  • Author: Kirk M Chan-Tack, MD; Chief Editor: Pranatharthi Haran Chandrasekar, MBBS, MD  more...
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Foodborne botulism should be suspected in patients who present with an acute gastrointestinal illness associated with neurologic symptoms. Symptoms usually appear within 12-36 hours following consumption of contaminated food products. The severity of the illness varies from mild to severe, but death can occur within 24 hours.

The incubation period is usually 18-36 hours. Depending on toxin dose, the incubation period ranges from 2 hours to 8 days. The onset of symptoms can be abrupt or can evolve over several days.

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