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Botulism: German couple poisoned by green beans
A German couple has been severely poisoned by eating green beans that they have picked themselves. Because of the life-threatening poisoning, patients had to spend botulism in the intensive care unit for months.
Life-threatening poisoning after eating green beans
In the Halle University Hospital (Saale), a German couple had to be treated for months after suffering severe poisoning from eating green beans they had picked themselves. According to a report in the medical journal "Journal of Medical Case Reports", the vegetables had triggered the life-threatening poisoning botulism in the 47-year-old woman and the 51-year-old man.
At the University Hospital in Halle (Saale), a couple was treated for months after they contracted life-threatening poisoning botulism by eating their own beans.
Paralysis of the limbs and respiratory muscles
Like the doctors around Dr. med. Dorothea Hellmich from the University Clinic and Polyclinic for Neurology, University Hospital Halle (Saale), reports, the woman was admitted to the hospital with symptoms such as dizziness, diplopia (see double images), speech disorders (dysarthria) and ptosis (eyelid drooping).
The complaints had been going on for about eight hours. Computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) showed normal results.
However, her neurological symptoms quickly worsened. The patient could no longer open her eyes and her limbs and breathing muscles were paralyzed.
According to the information, the patient had to be ventilated approximately 24 hours after admission to the clinic.
The wife's husband came to the hospital a day later with similar symptoms.
The spouses' illness was complicated by autonomous changes such as high blood pressure, fever and a debilitating bowel obstruction.
Doctors diagnosed botulism
Doctors quickly assumed that the complaints could be botulism, especially when the couple's son said that his parents had eaten beans of unknown age two days before hospitalization.
He said he didn't want to eat anything because of a strange smell.
The medical suspicion was confirmed. They found the botulinum toxin toxin in women, which is produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum.
High mortality rate
Botulism is a life-threatening poisoning that, according to health experts, can be caused, among other things, by eating tainted meat or fish.
“Food poisoning from the pathogen Clostridium (Cl.) Botulinum is relatively rare. Around 20 cases are reported to the Robert Koch Institute in Germany every year, ”reports the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR).
The doctors at the University Hospital Halle (Saale) write that there are fewer than ten cases per year.
"Because of the high mortality rate, botulism is still a serious health and food hygiene problem," according to the BfR, which has pointed out in the past that health risks also exist with home-made herbal oils, since "the manufacturing processes in private households cannot ensure that the proliferation of Clostridium (C.) botulinum and the formation of botulinum toxin in the products is generally prevented ”.
"Botulism must be treated immediately in any case, otherwise it can lead to death," wrote the Lower Saxony Ministry of Agriculture in a statement last year warning of the consumption of dried fish products.
Patients had to be treated for months
The couple in the University Hospital Halle (Saale) were treated quickly and for a very long time. Both had to stay in the hospital for several months.
The man was discharged home after eight months without a neurological deficit, but with symptoms such as weakness and muscle pain.
The woman was weaned from mechanical ventilation after five and a half months and discharged from the rehabilitation hospital after eleven months.
“The neurological symptoms caused by botulism had completely disappeared. However, she still felt weak and remained with a depressive adjustment disorder, ”the study authors said. (ad)