Lab tests ongoing in California botulism case
California health officials say the illnesses appear caused by botulism carried in nacho-cheese dip sold at a gas station in the Sacramento suburb of Walnut Grove.
An outbreak of botulism – a rare disease in the year 2017 – linked to a Sacramento gas station’s nacho cheese has killed a Northern California man and hospitalized at least nine others, health authorities say.
Family photos of Lavina Kelly before she contracted botulism poisoning, left, and as she is now, partially paralyzed and on a ventilator in an intensive care unit. The preformed toxin can be found in home-canned foods and some retail products, such as canned cheese, chili sauces and oil infused with garlic.
37 died on Monday after being one of 10 patients hospitalized for botulism for eating nacho-cheese sauce at a gas station.
Foodborne botulism is spread through ingesting food that has been contaminated through not been properly processed or stored, according to health officials.
The contaminated sauce was removed from sale on May 5, and authorities believe there is no ongoing threat to the public.
“As we head into the summer barbecue season, both indoor and outdoor chefs need to be on guard against all food-borne illnesses”, Smith said.
Botulism causes double or blurred vision, slurred speech, difficulty swallowing, muscle weakening, and in extreme cases paralysis or death. Although botulism is rare, being able to identify the symptoms could make a real difference.
Botulism is a rare form of food poisoning caused by bacteria toxins that is found in foods that are either not properly processed or stored, and it can not be spotted by smell or sight, the CDPH says.
The county has cited the gas station for failure to protect food from contamination, but the key question to protect other nacho eaters is how and when the cheese became contaminated.
Galindo’s brother said he doesn’t know for sure if Galindo got the illness from the Valley Oak Food and Fuel in the small area of Walnut Grove, but says the timelines do match up.
Officials have since tested the product and confirmed it contained the toxin that causes botulism.