Finegold, Sydney M. Infectious Disease Section, Veterans Administration Wadsworth Hospital Center, Los Angeles, California.
- Mechanism of action
- Symptoms and diagnosis
- Pharmacological agent
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An illness produced by the exotoxin of Clostridium botulinum and occasionally other bacterial members of the genus Clostridium, and characterized by paralysis and other neurological abnormalities. There are seven principal toxin types (A–G) involved in botulism. Types A, B, E, and F have been implicated in human disease, whereas types C and D produce illness in birds and nonhuman mammals. Strains of C. baratii and C. butyricum have been found to produce toxins E and F and have been implicated in infant botulism. There is serologic cross-reactivity between C. botulinum (see illustration) and C. sporogenes and C. novyi. Botulinal toxin is among the most potent poisons known; it has a heavy chain (molecular weight about 100,000) and a light chain (molecular weight about 50,000) joined by a disulfide bond. See also: Anaerobic infection; Bacteria; Bacteriology; Clostridium; Infectious disease; Medical bacteriology; Poison; Toxin; Virulence
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