Botulism - a rare but still present, life-threatening disease

Epidemiol Mikrobiol Imunol. 2019 Winter;68(1):33-38.


Botulism caused by toxins of Clostridium botulinum and other neurotoxic clostridia is a rare but life-threatening disease with neurological symptoms. Food-borne botulism (food poisoning) is the most common type worldwide; rarely, wound botulism, infant botulism, or botulism of unknown etiology may also occur. Botulism is a very rare disease in the Czech Republic as well, with only nine cases reported since 2008 (EPIDAT). These were mostly sporadic cases of food-borne botulism except a small family outbreak with three cases due to the consumption of homemade pork pate (2013). This outbreak prompted the creation of a national standby supply of life-saving anti-infective drugs in Prague. This article reviews the etiology, epidemiology, clinical manifestations, diagnosis, and therapy of botulism.

Keywords: Clostridium botulinum; botulism; clinical picture; diagnosis; epidemiology; treatment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Infective Agents / therapeutic use
  • Botulism* / drug therapy
  • Botulism* / epidemiology
  • Clostridium botulinum*
  • Czech Republic / epidemiology
  • Disease Outbreaks
  • Foodborne Diseases / drug therapy
  • Foodborne Diseases / epidemiology
  • Humans


  • Anti-Infective Agents