Two people in Romania have been diagnosed with botulism, according to Agerpres, the country’s news agency.

This past weekend, a man went to hospital in the city of Arad and his wife was later diagnosed as being infected. They are believed to have eaten homemade ham.

The news agency reported that there was no antitoxin available so health officials had to get some from Moldova. Both patients remain under observation in hospital.

Botulism poisoning is a rare illness caused by toxins produced by Clostridium botulinum bacteria.

A recent study analyzed the clinical and epidemiological data of patients diagnosed with botulism and hospitalized at one facility in Romania. Findings were published in the journal Environmental Science and Pollution Research.

Overall, 48 patients with foodborne botulism were hospitalized between 2012 and 2018, which was more than a third of the total number reported in Romania.

The winter to spring period was when most cases were registered. The most common source of botulism was consumption of homemade ham.

About botulism
While a variety of illnesses can result from eating under-processed food, one of the most dangerous is botulism poisoning. Untreated, botulism can paralyze the muscles needed for breathing, resulting in sudden death.

Anyone who has developed signs of botulism poisoning should immediately seek medical attention, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“In foodborne botulism, symptoms generally begin 18 to 36 hours after eating contaminated food. However, symptoms can begin as soon as 6 hours after or up to 10 days later,” according to the CDC website.

The symptoms of botulism may include some or all of the following: double vision, blurred vision, drooping eyelids, slurred speech, difficulty swallowing, difficulty breathing, a thick-feeling tongue, dry mouth, and muscle weakness. People with botulism poisoning may not show all of these symptoms at once.

These symptoms result from muscle paralysis caused by the toxin. If untreated, the disease may progress, and symptoms may worsen to cause paralysis of specific muscles, including those used in breathing and those in the arms, legs, and the body from the neck to the pelvis area.

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