botulism is diagnosed early, it can be treated with an
antitoxin, a substance that blocks the action of toxins circulating in the
blood. This antitoxin can prevent the condition from getting worse, but
recovery still takes many weeks.
You should receive the antitoxin
as soon as possible. However, it still may be beneficial to start treatment
even several weeks after becoming ill, because the antitoxin may possibly slow
or halt further progression of the disease.
It's important to
weigh the risks of treatment against potential benefits. The botulism antitoxin
is manufactured from horse serum, so developing a severe allergic reaction
serum sickness is possible.
Currently, botulism antitoxin is not routinely given to
infants younger than 1 year of age. But there is a treatment for this group.
Botulism immune globulin (BabyBIG) can be used to treat botulism in infants
younger than 1 year old.
Primary Medical Reviewer
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer
W. David Colby IV, MSc, MD, FRCPC - Infectious Disease