Microbiology - Botulism
The SLPH does not perform botulism-related testing.
Cases of suspected botulism constitute a health emergency and are handled according to protocols of the Division of Epidemiology and the CDC. The patient´s physician MUST FIRST contact the Epidemiology and Communicable Disease Section of the Division of Public Health at (919)733-3419. This telephone number provides assistance on a 24-hour basis and includes recorded instructions for after-hours emergencies.
An epidemiologist in this Section must discuss the case with the patient´s physician. If botulism is a probable diagnosis, the State consultant will then contact the CDC to arrange shipment of botulism antitoxin to the patient´s physician. Clinical specimens also may be forwarded to the CDC for culture or toxin testing. These test results may be delayed, although they can confirm the diagnosis.
Recommended specimens for botulism examination include fresh stool specimens (25g), serum (15ml) and any implicated food items shipped refrigerated in an insulated container.
Botulism-related specimens can be submitted to the CDC only after approval by the Division of Epidemiology and the CDC. Instructions for shipping specimens will be provided at that time.
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