A Sunday spring church potluck turned deadly at Cross Pointe Free Will Baptist Church in Lancaster, Ohio today, when one of those that contracted botulism died.
The woman was 54. 17 others ingested the paralytic toxin according to ABC News. The youngest victim in nine and the oldest is 87. Five of the patients remain in critical condition, ten, including the woman who died, went to local hospitals.
These days, death from botulism is rare. Symptoms appear within 36 hours of ingesting the toxin through contaminated food. They include respiratory failure, paralysis and difficulty swallowing.
Botulism is rarely fatal. Its symptoms typically begin within 36 hours of consuming contaminated food. It can cause paralysis, double vision, difficulty swallowing and respiratory failure. It is caused by the release of a nerve toxin by specific kinds of bacteria, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
According to CDC, the disease, while rarely fatal, has to be taken seriously.
“All forms of botulism can be fatal and are considered medical emergencies,” according to the CDC. “Foodborne botulism is a public health emergency because many people can be poisoned by eating a contaminated food.”
The CDC handed out 50 doses of antitoxin from their stockpile, said CDC spokesperson Tom Skinner. He explained that the vials are given to hospitals where they are administered intravenously.