This bacteria is rod-shaped.
This bacteria stains gram-positive, which means that it retains large amounts of the Gram stain due to its high peptidoglycan content in the cell wall.
This bacteria prefers to grow in an anaerobic environment.
This bacteria is capable of forming spores when in an unfavorable state. It can quickly germinate and produce bacteria in its vegetative state when in preferable conditions.
The neurotoxin responsible for the symptoms of botulism is a heat labile toxin and can be prevented by adequately heating food to proper temperatures.
The toxin causes a flaccid paralysis by inhibiting acetylcholine at the neuromuscular junction, preventing activation of the muscles.
Adult botulism is associated with the ingestion of food in which C. botulinum spores have been allowed to germinate in anaerobic conditions, often seen in home-canned food substances and fermented uncooked dishes. The spore have a preformed toxin which is the cause of disease.
In infant botulism, children are colonized with bacterium early in life, often associated with the consumption of spores which have formed toxin in honey. The released toxin in the intestine is then absorbed into the bloodstream.
The neurotoxin leads to paralysis that typically begins with the muscles in the face due to involvement of the cranial nerves. Symptoms include double vision, drooping of the eyelids, loss of facial expression, and difficulty swallowing and talking. The weakness then spreads to the arms and legs causing a descending flaccid paralysis.
Diplopia is a common symptom of botulism as the cranial nerves that control ocular movement are affected.
Ptosis is drooping of the eyelids and is commonly seen in botulism due to involvement of the cranial nerves that control the eyelids.
In infants, the flaccid paralysis is often called floppy baby syndrome.
In addition to affecting voluntary muscles, the toxin can cause disruptions in the autonomic nervous system, causing dry mouth, postural hypotension and decreased peristalsis, leading to constipation.
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