Tags: church | potluck | botulism

Church Potluck Botulism: 1 Dead, 23 Sickened After Sunday Lunch

By    |   Wednesday, 22 April 2015 02:54 PM

Suspected botulism at an Ohio church potluck has left one 54-year-old woman dead and 23 sickened.

Most began getting sick Tuesday after attending a Sunday potluck lunch at Cross Pointe Free Will Baptist Church in Lancaster, Reuters reported. Symptoms of botulism include double or blurred vision, drooping eyelids, slurred speech, and difficulty swallowing.

The nerve toxin is produced by a type of bacteria and is sometimes linked to contaminated canned food. Those showing symptoms were given botulism antitoxin supplied overnight by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Reuters said.

Five patients are in critical condition.

"In this day and age, botulism from food is fairly rare. Generally it's canned foods," said Dr. Andrew Murry of Fairfield Medical Center, according to CNN. "The fatality rate is usually fairly low."

Among the 50 or 60 who attended the church potluck, about 10 were children, The Lancaster Eagle-Gazette reported.

"Everyone is trying to find the common thread," Cross Pointe Pastor Bill Pitts told the Eagle-Gazette. "My heart is crying, and I pray for the people and their families."

About 145 cases of botulism are reported in the United States each year, with
about 15 percent being foodborne illnesses, according to the CDC. Outbreaks of foodborne botulism are usually caused by home-canned foods.

The death rate for those infected with botulism has fallen to 3 percent to 5 percent. Those who survive a bout with botulism can experience fatigue and shortness of breath for years.

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Suspected botulism at an Ohio church potluck has left one 54-year-old woman dead and 23 sickened..
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Wednesday, 22 April 2015 02:54 PM
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