Author(s): Varma JK, Katsitadze G, Moiscrafishvili M, Zardiashvili T, Chikheli M,
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Abstract Foodborne botulism is a potentially fatal, paralytic illness that can cause large outbreaks. A possible increase in botulism incidence during 2001 in the Republic of Georgia prompted this study. We reviewed surveillance data and abstracted records of patients with botulism who were hospitalized from 1980 to 2002. During this period, 879 botulism cases were detected. The median annual incidence increased from 0.3 per 100,000 during 1980 to 1990 to 0.9 per 100,000 during 1991 to 2002. For 706 botulism patients hospitalized from 1980 to 2002, 80\% of their cases were attributed to home-preserved vegetables. Surveillance evaluation verified that botulism incidence varied greatly by region. Georgia has the highest nationally reported rate of foodborne botulism in the world. A strategy addressing individual behaviors in the home is needed to improve food safety; developing this strategy requires a deeper understanding of why botulism has increased and varies by region.
This article was published in Emerg Infect Dis
and referenced in Journal of Clinical Toxicology