Biology

Infectious disease Botulism

Edward Schantz isolated a neurotoxin that the bacteria produced. Between 1949 and 1950, it was found that the toxin, called as BoNT A blocked the neuromuscular transmissions by obstructing the flow of acetylcholine from the motor nerve terminals. Why should we learn about Botulism? Botulism toxin is indeed, one of the deadliest and most toxic substances that are known in the contemporary age. Alongside its consideration as a weapon in biology, botulism toxin has also been made use of for the treatment of numerous medical problems. Dr. Scott made use of this toxin in 1980 to correct the deviation of eye in a condition known as strabismus. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved BoNT-A i.e. BOTOX in 1989 as a means to treat young patients suffering from blepharospasm, strabismus, and hemifacial spasm. It was in 2002 when the use of BOTOX was approved by FDA to remove the frown lines and wrinkles. Various ways of cosmetic improvements were realized with the use of BOTOX. The neurotoxin of botulinum is one of the extremely lethal and virulent substances on the face of Earth. I nanogram per kg of botulinum neurotoxin is quite sufficient to take the life of one individual. According to the estimates of many scientists, as many as 1 million people can be killed with the injection of just 1 gram of the botulinum neurotoxin (MedicineNet 2). … Home processing and canning of food has reduced the yearly cases of botulism for millions in the past to only 1000 in number in the present age all over the world. In US, no more than 110 cases of this disease are encountered on a yearly basis of which, the disease is acquired through food poisoning in 25 per cent of the cases, 72 per cent of the cases are those of infant botulism, and wound botulism accounts for no more than 3 per cent (MedicineNet 3). Consumption of contaminated food-borne botulism can infect two or more people with the disease simultaneously. Of all the types of botulism, cases of wound botulism have increased in number particularly in California. This is because of people’s tendency to use black-tar heroin. According to the Centers for Disease Control, number of cases diagnosed for the food-borne botulism remained potentially the same from 1950 to 1996, i.e. almost 9.7 cases per year. However, the number of fatalities resulting from botulism poisoning decreased from 60 per cent in the initial half of the 20th century to 15 per cent in the later. Quick administration of the antitoxin and improvements in the respiratory and supportive intensive care has brought about this decrease according to CDC (Severs). What is Botulism? Botulism is a very seriuous form of illness which causes the muscles to be paralyzed. Botulism (from Latin botulus, sausage) is a rare but serious paralytic illness caused by a nerve toxin, botulin, that is produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. Botulin is the most potent known toxin, blocking nerve function and leading to respiratory and musculoskeletal paralysis.

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