As reported in the Yakima Herald, there is one confirmed case and one suspected case of wound botulism in Yakima County. Both individuals are confirmed heroin users and are currently on ventilators at a local hospital.
The Yakima Health district is currently trying to educate intravenous drugs users of the chance of contaminated heroin supply in the area.
Black tar heroin has been an issue in the US and Europe for years with outbreaks in California and Washington state in the past.
Mexico is frequently the source of black tar heroin which is a thick gummy substance and because of this it needs to be diluted. Many experts believe the source of the botulism is in the “cutting agent” which is believed to be things like dirt and honey.
Wound botulism occurs when spores of Clostridium botulinum contaminate a wound, germinate and produce botulinum neurotoxin in the body. Most wound botulism cases have been among intravenous drug users.