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Wound Botulism

  • For general information on Botulism, including FAQs, please see our Botulism page

 

What is wound botulism?

A very serious disease caused by a bacteria. It can cause paralysis and death.

 

Why does it affect injection drug users?

This disease comes from an infection caused by dirty works, dirty skin or dirty drugs. Most patients have used black tar heroin.

 

What are the symptoms?

Beginning symptoms are drooping eyelids, blurred or double vision, sore throat or trouble swallowing. This can progress to complete paralysis and death.

 

What is the treatment?

There is no cure. Treatment is to keep the patient alive with a respirator until they get better.

 

What can one do to protect themselves?

  • Not injecting drugs will prevent you from getting this disease.
  • If you continue to inject be sure your works and skin are clean.
  • Don't use black tar heroin. It is not possible to kill wound botulism by cooking or cleaning the dope.
  • Don't share-needles, syringes, filters, cookers, or water.
  • Always use a new sterile syringe. If you must re-use (even your own), clean it well with bleach.
  • Get a tetanus shot every five years. Injection drug users can also get tetanus from shooting.

What should I do if I think I have this disease?

Go to the nearest emergency room and tell them you might have wound botulism.

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