Laboratory Diagnosis and control

Laboratory Diagnosis and control:

Laboratory Diagnosis:

The suspected food samples, faeces or vomit might be taken as specimens. The organism or its toxin might be detected in the suspected food. Toxin might be explained in the patient’s blood by toxin-antitoxin neutralization test in mice. Botulinal toxin is very hazardous and care must be taken whereas handling the specimen and toxin.

Gram stained smears of the food might be inspected for the sporing bacilli. The samples must be heated at 65 to 80oC for different times to remove non-sporing bacteria and cultivated anaerobically.

C.botulinum is grown from the food remainder. Inoculated blood agar plates are positioned in air tight container from which air is eliminated and substituted by nitrogen with 10 percent CO2. Fluid media like cooked meat medium and thioglycolate medium can also be employed. C. botulinum is recognized based upon its biological characteristics and toxigenicity. In addition, immunofluroscence staining might be employed when conjugated antisera are accessible.


Antitoxin is made by immunizing animals with toxoid preparations and it is employed therapeutically. In common a bivalent serum having antitoxins to A and B types of toxin has been employed for prophylaxis and treatment. Antitoxin to type E is also added as a routine. Intensive care must be given to patients.


The spores are existed in soil and contaminate fruits and vegetables. Main problem lies in home canned food such as peas and pickles. Home canning of food stuffs must be avoided and commercially canning should be strictly controlled. Preservation of vegetables and other eatables by inexperienced hand is hazardous. Fruits might be bottled by heating at 100oC since the organism does not grow in acid pH.

A prophylactic dosage of polyvalent antitoxin must be given intramuscularly to all persons who have eaten food alleged of having caused botulinum. Active immunity can be acquired by injecting 3 doses of mixed toxoid at intervals of 2 months however the incidence is too low and it is not required as a routine. However laboratory staffs who handle the organisms or specimen having organisms or toxin must be specified active immunization.


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