Botulism and botulism-like illness in chronic drug abusers

K. L. MacDonald, G. W. Rutherford, S. M. Friedman, J. R. Dietz, B. R. Kaye, G. F. McKinley, J. H. Tenney, M. L. Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


From 1982 to 1983 we received reports of a neurologic illness characterized by a symmetric descending paralysis in six drug abusers from widely separated geographic areas. Botulism was confirmed in two patients; type B botulinal toxin was found and Clostridium botulinum was isolated from a small abscess in one, and type A botulinal toxin was found in the serum of the other. The clinical illness in the remaining four patients, although not laboratory confirmed, was also compatible with botulism. None of the patients had histories suggestive of foodborne botulism, and wound botulism was suspected as the cause of illness. There are several reports of tetanus associated with parenteral drug abuse; wound botulism is another toxin-mediated clostridial infection that may occur as a complication of chronic drug abuse.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)616-618
Number of pages3
JournalAnnals of Internal Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1985


Dive into the research topics of 'Botulism and botulism-like illness in chronic drug abusers'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this