The New Mexico Department of Health is cooperating with the Texas Department of State Health Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on an investigation of two patients who are hospitalized in Texas with suspected botulism. The source is currently being investigated but is likely contaminated food, according to NM officials. The patients are two adults from Lea County, NM, which is in the southeastern corner of the state bordering Texas. Botulism is a rare but potentially fatal illness caused by a nerve toxin that causes paralysis. All healthcare providers should consider botulism in patients presenting with the following signs and symptoms:
- Double vision
- Blurred vision
- Drooping eyelids
- Slurred speech
- Difficulty swallowing
- Dry mouth
- Muscle weakness/descending paralysis
- Difficulty breathing/shortness of breath
If untreated, these symptoms may progress to cause paralysis of the respiratory muscles, arms, legs, and trunk and can cause death. The New Mexico Department of Health recommends:
- If you or someone you know experiences any of the symptoms listed above, immediately seek professional medical care.
- All clinicians be alert for cases of botulism and consult New Mexico Department of Health for all suspect cases.
- Report any suspect case to the New Mexico Department of Health at any time by calling (505) 827-0006 so that antitoxin can be obtained as soon as possible if indicated.