The Alaska Section of Epidemiology has confirmed a case of botulism in an adult patient who ate Native Salad at the Cama-i Dance Festival in Bethel, March 16-18, 2018. Bethel is a city located near the west coast of Alaska, approximately 400 miles west of Anchorage.
The Alaska State Public Health Lab received a sample of the Native Salad consumed by the patient and it tested presumptive positive for botulism. Botulism toxin is produced from a certain bacteria that is found in the environment. Toxin production is more likely under certain conditions, like no oxygen or warm temperatures, which could be present during preparation or later during storage of that food.
Botulism is a rare but serious paralytic illness caused by a nerve toxin produced by Clostridium bacteria. Alaska consistently has among the highest rates of foodborne botulism in the United States, almost always related to the consumption of aged, or ‘fermented’, traditional foods.
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