Human botulism is a rare but severe neurological disease which is submitted to the French Public Health. The biological diagnosis is performed by the National Reference Center of Anaerobic Bacteria and Botulism (CNR), Institut Pasteur, Paris.
Thirty-nine of confirmed botulism and 3 suspected episodes involving 68 and 4 persons, respectively were Identified: 6 Type A episodes (10 cases), 26 type B episodes (47 boxes), type 2 F episodes (5 cases), and 5 undetermined type episodes (6 boxes). The source of botulism was foodborne in 36 outbreaks (66 cases) and 6 cases were infant botulism. All type A and F botulism cases were severe forms
The incriminated food was identified in 15 of the 36 episodes of foodborne botulism. Homemade preparations of pork meat, especially raw ham, were responsible for 13 type B episodes, including 3 due to imported meat. Homemade pork meat was suspected in 12 other outbreaks. Other included pheasant pie and home canned asparagus. One of the two type F episodes was caused by industrial ground meat contaminated with Clostridium baratii F7 . No food has been identified in infant botulism and environmental contamination has been suspected in three cases. Penicillin and metronidazole resistant C. botulinum A2 strain was isolated from an infant botulism case with relapses.
Human botulism is rare in France. However, botulism surveillance is required for early identification of emerging novel botulinum toxin types, such as in the two C. baratii type F outbreaks in 2014 and 2015. Botulism surveillance also helps addressing recommendations to industrialists and consumers regarding hygiene and food preservation practices. Finally, this surveillance allows to quickly identify contaminated food in order to withdraw it from the market or from family’s homes.
Human botulism in France, 2013-2016
Christelle Mazuet 1 , Nathalie Jourdan-Da Silva 2 , Christine Legeay 1 , Jean Sautereau 1 , Michel R. Popoff 1