March 23, 2018

Botulism from Canned Food Spawns MS Man’s 3-Year Survival Struggle

On Thanksgiving weekend 2011, Jay Klein of Mississippi ate some canned food that almost killed him. The former construction worker didn’t know what was happening to him, that a nerve toxin produced by the Clostridium botulinum bacteria in the food he ate was paralyzing his muscles. Neither did the emergency room doctors who placed him on a ventilator. Six days after Klein was admitted, they prepared to tell his wife Amanda that he was brain dead, although he was actually fully conscious.

Botulism moleculeKlein, who recently shared his story with WMCTV, says he was aware of what was happening but unable to move more speak. He prayed that God would help him show the doctors he could hear and understand and somehow when the doctor told him to move his leg, Klein did.

After almost three years in and out of the hospital, Klein’s condition has slowly improved. Over time, he regained his ability to blink allowing him to communicate, but it is still a challenge for him to swallow a small spoonful of pudding.

Home canned foods are the most common source of foodborne botulism, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  Vegetables with a low acid content, such as green beans, corn and carrots pose a particular risk. The Kleins believe a damaged can of beets was to blame for Jay’s illness.

To reduce the risk of botulism, follow home canning directions carefully. Never eat food from cans that are leaking, cracked, bulging or swollen. When disposing of these items, carefully sanitize the surfaces that they touched and thoroughly clean your hands.


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