Botulism (Clostridium botulinum)
Infectious agent: Clostridium botulinum, botulinum toxin
Description of illness: Botulism is a muscle-paralyzing disease caused by botulinum toxin, from Clostridium botulinum bacteria. Botulism is characterized by an acute, afebrile, symmetric descending flaccid paralysis, caused by blockade of neurotransmitters at the neuromuscular junction. Onset of symptoms can occur abruptly within hours or evolve gradually over several days. There are 3 distinct forms of botulism: foodborne botulism, infant botulism, and wound botulism.