DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH NEWS
The New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) is investigating a suspected case of wound botulism in Bernalillo County. The man in his 30’s is hospitalized and has reported injection drug use. Antitoxin to prevent the progression of disease was shipped to New Mexico by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Previous cases of wound botulism in the state have been linked primarily to black tar heroin use, and, in some cases, injecting methamphetamine.
Botulism is a rare but serious paralytic illness caused by a nerve toxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum in a wound or abscess. Injecting drugs especially under the skin can introduce Clostridium botulinum and allow it to grow. Left untreated, it can lead to toxin production and progressive muscle paralysis and death.
In addition, healthcare providers are advised to consider the possibility of botulism in any patient reporting injecting drugs and presenting with the following signs and/or symptoms caused by the bacterial toxin:
- double vision
- blurred vision
- drooping eyelids
- slurred speech
- difficulty swallowing
- dry mouth
- muscle weakness/descending paralysis
- difficulty breathing/shortness of breath
The Department of Health also recommends:
- Warning drugs users about wound botulism. Inform them of the signs and symptoms and the need to seek medical care immediately
- Report any suspect cases to the New Mexico Department of Health 24/7/365 at (505) 827-0006 so that antitoxin can be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as soon as possible.
For more on wound botulism visit the CDC Botulism site.