The number of botulism cases reported in Ukraine during the past three months has risen to 62, according to the Deputy Minister of Health of Ukraine on European integration Oksana Sivak.
Of this total, nine have died. Dried fish, both home prepared and commercially prepared has been linked to most of the botulism cases, while officials say some cases have been linked to home prepared stew.
A huge problem is the lack of anti-botulinum serum in Ukraine, so there is nothing to help the patients. Most hospitals have no anti-botulinum serum and they haven’t had any since 2014, this is when the term of the certificate on state registration of the drug with Russian production ended.
The Health Ministry is planning to purchase serum from botulism through international organizations, according the the Ukraine News Agency. “According to the current legislation of Ukraine, neither the Ministry of Health nor other health agencies can buy these medicines unless they are registered. So now the only legal way is to purchase necessary drugs through international organizations,” the ministry said.
In Kiev, a legal probe into several cases due to “a violation of rules and standards established for the prevention of epidemic and other infectious diseases and mass non-communicable diseases ( poisoning) and deal with them, if such actions caused or could knowingly cause the spread of these diseases”, according to a glavcom report (computer translated).
Food borne botulism is a severe intoxication caused by eating the preformed toxin present in contaminated food.
Food borne botulism occurs when the bacterium Clostridium botulinum is allowed to grow and produce toxin in food that is later eaten without sufficient heating or cooking to inactivate the toxin. Botulinum toxin is one of the most potent neurotoxins known.
Typically in a few hours to several days after you eat the contaminated food you will start to show the classic symptoms; blurred vision, dry mouth, and difficulty in swallowing. Gastrointestinal symptoms may or may not occur. If untreated, the paralysis always descends through the body starting at the shoulders and working its way down.
The most serious complication of botulism is respiratory failure where it is fatal in up to 10% of people. It may take months before recovery is complete.
If the disease is caught early enough it can be treated with antitoxin. If paralysis and respiratory failure happen, the person may be on a ventilator for several weeks.
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