Botulism is a muscle-paralyzing disease caused by a toxin made from a bacterium called Clostridium botulinum.
Botulism can be contracted by ingesting contaminated food or inhaling contaminated particles. In adults, food-borne botulism is most common. Botulism is not spread from person-to-person.
Food-borne botulism causes gastrointestinal symptoms. Blurred vision, drooping eyelids, difficulty swallowing and muscle weakness can be found in patients with either type of botulism. In addition, an individual infected with botulism can experience progressive paralysis and respiratory failure.
The primary treatment for both types of botulism is supportive care in a hospital setting. Additionally, an antitoxin is available from the CDC.