By NewsDesk  @bactiman63

Los Angeles County health officials identified four cases of suspected wound botulism associated with heroin injection in February 2021.

Los Angeles County map/Thadius856

Two of the cases possibly used the same heroin batch but the other two cases have no known connection to other cases. The sources of the heroin remain unknown and additional cases may occur.

All four cases required intensive care treatment and had respiratory failure requiring intubation.

Symptoms of the four cases included diplopia, ptosis, dysphagia, slurred speech, facial paralysis, difficulty breathing, and muscle weakness.

In 2020 in LA County there were a total of 9 reported cases (4 confirmed and 5 probable) of wound botulism, more than twice the annual average.

Outbreak News Interviews podcast on Spotify

Botulism is a rare, potentially fatal paralytic illness caused by the neurotoxins produced by Clostridium botulinum. Wound botulism occurs when a wound is contaminated by C. botulinum spores that germinate and produce toxin inside the wound. Wound botulism in drug abusers occurs in dermal abscesses from subcutaneous or intramuscular injection (skin or muscle “popping”).