Last summer, a deadly botulism outbreak was linked to a potluck meal at Cross Pointe Free Will Baptist Church in Ohio. Twenty nine people were sickened, two people died.
Previously, one fatality had been reported in connection with the largest botulism outbreak to strike the U.S. in 40 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Most of those sickened described onset of symptoms two days after attending the potluck. Home-canned potatoes in potato salad were the likely source of the outbreak, health officials concluded.
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. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should see a doctor as botulism can be fatal.