Surveillance and outbreak reports Open Access
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In June 2008, three Dutch tourists participating in a mini-cruise in Turkey needed urgent repatriation for antitoxin treatment because of symptoms of botulism. Because there was a shortage of antitoxin in the Netherlands, an emergency delivery was requested from the manufacturer in Germany. An outbreak investigation was initiated into all nine cruise members, eight of whom developed symptoms. C. botulinum type B was isolated in stool culture from four of them. No other patients were notified locally. Food histories revealed locally purchased unprocessed black olives, consumed on board of the ship, as most likely source, but no leftovers were available for investigation. C. botulinum type D was detected in locally purchased canned peas, and whilst type D is not known to be a cause of human intoxication, its presence in a canned food product indicates an inadequate preserving process. With increasing tourism to areas where food-borne botulism is reported regularly special requests for botulism antitoxin may become necessary. Preparing an inventory of available reserve stock in Europe would appear to be a necessary and valuable undertaking.


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