CDC Publishes 1st Comprehensive Clinical Guidelines for Diagnosis and Treatment of Botulism

Mary Madison, RN, RAC-CT, CDP
Clinical Consultant – Briggs Healthcare

Botulism is serious illness caused by a toxin that attacks nerves and causes muscle paralysis, difficulty breathing, and even death. Foodborne botulism is one of the five main kinds of botulism. This month, CDC published the first comprehensive clinical care guidelines for botulism in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

CDC developed the guidelines through a multiyear process involving extensive expert input and six systematic reviews of 100 years of scientific literature.

The guidelines provide:

  • Recommended best practices for diagnosing, treating, and monitoring people with botulism
  • Special considerations for infants, children, and pregnant or breastfeeding patients
  • Suggestions for supportive care, including psychosocial support for patients and family members

The guidelines are intended for the treatment of one or many patients, and they would be especially useful during an outbreak in which resources, such as ventilators, medical staff, and antitoxin, might be in short supply.

Other new resources for treating patients with botulism include CDC’s video on preparing and administering antitoxin and step-by-step guidance for clinicians of patients with infant botulism.