Agent: Botulism (Bacterium)

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Agent: Botulism (Bacterium)

Bacterium Name: Clostridium botulinum
Most likely means of dissemination: Aerosol (eating contaminated food)
Primary route of entry: Inhalation (oral)
General signs and symptoms: Difficulty with speaking, swallowing, or blurred or double vision, drooping eyelids (ptosis), dilated pupils, dry mouth, decreased gag reflex, weakening of the reflexes (hyporeflexia), abnormal sensations such as numbness, prickling, tingling, and arm or leg weakness.
Botulism is caused by a neurotoxin and technically could be classified as a chemical WMD. For our discussion it is placed under biological agents because the toxin is derived from a bacterium. Botulism is potentially life-threatening, producing a characteristic clinical picture of muscular paralysis leading to respiratory failure.
8. Dowell, V. R. Jr. M.D. "This infant was a botulism patient in a clinical setting, and was exhibiting the characteristic flaccid facial musculature, ptosis of the lids, and lack of expression found in infantile botulism, caused by the bacterium, Clostridium botulinum." CDC Public Health Image Library, 1980, https://phil.cdc.gov/Details.aspx?pid=16681

A botulism infant exhibiting characteristic flaccid facial musculature, ptosis of the lids, and lack of expression (8).