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Woudstra C.,ANSES French Agency for Food | Lambert D.,Botulism Reference Service for Canada | Anniballi F.,Instituto Superiore Of Sanita | De Medici D.,Instituto Superiore Of Sanita | And 2 more authors.
Applied and Environmental Microbiology | Year: 2013

Botulinum neurotoxins (BoNTs) are produced by phenotypically and genetically different Clostridium species, including Clostridium botulinum and some strains of Clostridium baratii (serotype F) and Clostridium butyricum (serotype E). BoNT-producing clostridia responsible for human botulism encompass strains of group I (secreting proteases, producing toxin serotype A, B, or F, and growing optimally at 37°C) and group II (nonproteolytic, producing toxin serotype E, B, or F, and growing optimally at 30°C). Here we report the development of real-time PCR assays for genotyping C. botulinum strains of groups I and II based on flaVR (variable region sequence of flaA) sequences and the flaB gene. Real-time PCR typing of regions flaVR1 to flaVR10 and flaB was optimized and validated with 62 historical and Canadian C. botulinum strains that had been previously typed. Analysis of 210 isolates of European origin allowed the identification of four new C. botulinum flaVR types (flaVR11 to flaVR14) and one new flaVR type specific to C. butyricum type E (flaVR15).The genetic diversity of the flaVR among C. botulinum strains investigated in the presentstudy reveals the clustering of flaVR types into 5 major subgroups. Subgroups 1, 3, and 4 contain proteolytic Clostridium botulinum, subgroup 2 is made up of nonproteolytic C. botulinum only, and subgroup 5 is specific to C. butyricum type E. The genetic variability of the flagellin genes carried by C. botulinum and the possible association of flaVR typeswith certain geographical areas make gene profiling of flaVR and flaB promising in molecular surveillance and epidemiology of C. botulinum. © 2013, American Society for Microbiology.

Walton R.N.,Public Health Ontario | Clemens A.,Peel Public Health | Chung J.,Public Health Ontario | Moore S.,Public Health Ontario | And 8 more authors.
Foodborne Pathogens and Disease | Year: 2014

On April 17, 2012, two adult females presented to the hospital with symptoms of botulism. Patient A displayed shortness of breath, increasing lethargy, ptosis, and fixed and dilated pupils, and was intubated after admission. Patient B presented with shortness of breath, vomiting, and stridor. Both patients consumed a meal consisting of a traditionally prepared salted fish, fesikh, on the evening of April 16 during a gathering to celebrate Sham el-Nessim, an Egyptian holiday marking the beginning of spring. Foodborne botulism was suspected based on symptoms and consumption of potentially hazardous food. Antitoxin was administered to both patients on April 18. Another attendee of the Sham el-Nessim gathering (patient C), who also consumed the implicated food, developed symptoms consistent with botulism on April 18. Clinical specimens from all three symptomatic attendees tested positive for either Clostridium botulinum or type E botulinum neurotoxin. Fesikh remaining from the shared meal contained both type E botulinum neurotoxin and C. botulinum type E organisms. Unsold fesikh shad and fesikh sardines tested positive for C. botulinum type E, while unsold fesikh mullet pieces in oil tested positive for both C. botulinum type E and type E botulinum neurotoxin. After consultation with public health investigators, all fesikh products were voluntarily withheld from sale by the manufacturer prior to laboratory confirmation of contamination. Additional illnesses were likely prevented by these precautionary holds, which underscores the importance of timely public health action based on epidemiological evidence available in advance of laboratory results. This is the first documented outbreak of foodborne botulism associated with fesikh to occur in Canada. © Copyright 2014, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.

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