Botulism is a rare but serious muscle paralyzing disease caused by a nerve toxin that is produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. This type of bacteria is found naturally in the soil. Botulism is not contagious, meaning it is NOT spread from one person to another person. All forms of botulism can be fatal and are considered medical emergencies. A foodborne botulism outbreak is a public health emergency because the contaminated food source may be unknown and still available, and many additional people can be poisoned by eating the contaminated food. Botulism toxin could be used as a biological weapon because it can be spread through a food source and has the potential to be aerosolized. There is no vaccine or medication to prevent botulism, which means that a POD site would not be used in the event of a botulism attack or outbreak. The preventive measures that will be taken in the event of a botulism outbreak will involve determining the source of exposure and isolation from that source.
In the event of a weaponized botulism attack or outbreak, the Washoe County Health District will work closely with the Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to provide community partners and the public with recommendations regarding infection control activities. This information will be available through the media and the Washoe County Health District website.
Last modified on 07/21/2015