A botulism outbreak that sickened 29 people who attended a church potluck in Ohio is the largest botulism outbreak to strike the U.S. in 40 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). One person died as a result of their illness.
Botulism is caused by a nerve toxin produced by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum which is found in soil and dust. Symptoms include: double vision, blurred vision, drooping eyelids, slurred speech, difficulty swallowing, dry mouth, muscle weakness, descending paralysis, difficulty breathing and shortness of breath.
Most patients described onset of symptoms two days after attending a potluck at Cross Pointe Free Will Baptist Church.Home-canned potatoes in potato salad were the likely source of the outbreak.