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Botulism in Saxony: Health authorities are puzzled
Since 2006, numerous cattle have died of botulism on a farm in Thossfell, Saxony, and the breeder has also contracted the poisoning caused by bacteria. The health authorities were alarmed and the Saxon government demanded an immediate explanation of the causes.
The infectious disease botulism caused by toxins from the bacterium Clostridium botulinum was first detected on the farm in Saxony last year. Around 600 cattle have perished on the farm since 2006, but the suspicion of chronic botulism was only confirmed last year. In the meantime, the breeder has also developed the relatively unknown disease and is suffering from muscle paralysis. Meanwhile, the cause research is in full swing. "The Fritz Loeffler Institute for Animal Health is investigating the case," emphasized the spokesman for the Saxon Ministry of Health, Ralph Schreiber.
Botulism disease largely unknown to the population Botulism is a disease largely unknown to the population, which is caused by poisoning by the toxins of bacteria. In humans, botulism is usually caused by the consumption of spoiled meat, but what has led to the widespread occurrence of the disease in cattle on the farm in Thossfell in the Vogtland region has so far not been clarified. For years, the animals have given little milk, suffered from indigestion and paralysis and had fertility restrictions. About 600 cattle had died as a result of the disease and the owner also now suffers from botulism, the breeders' lawyer said. The state farmers' association, however, was at a loss and emphasized that research at this point urgently needs to be intensified. Because "the cause is not known", "we also do not know how we can react," explained Andreas Jahnel from the State Farmers' Association. The Saxon state government also demands immediate clarification of the causes of the disease in the botulism cases at hand.
Health consequences of botulism disease In humans, botulism is usually a pure poisoning and therefore not contagious. The effect of the bacterial poisons is based on the blockade of the signal transmission between nerves and muscles. Most often, the eye muscles are affected in the early stages of the disease, the patient's eyesight is limited, the eyes keep closing and the pupils are dilated. In the later stage of the disease, muscles of the lips, tongue, palate and larynx can also be affected, although botulism can also lead to paralysis of the muscles in particularly severe cases. In addition, with such a severe course of the disease, the internal organs are often affected. Vomiting, diarrhea, later constipation and abdominal cramps (acute abdominal pain) are the possible consequences. At the end of the course of the disease, in the worst case there are paralysis of the heart and respiratory muscles, which lead to the death of the patient due to suffocation or cardiac arrest. (fp)
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