Botulism

Isolation and Decontamination

Standard precautions for healthcare workers. Botulinum toxin is not dermally active and secondary aerosols are not a hazard from patients. Decontaminate with soap and water. Botulinum toxin is inactivated by sunlight within 1-3 hours. Heat (80 degrees C for 30 min, 100 degrees C for several minutes) and chlorine (>99.7% inactivation by 3 mg/L FAC in 20 min) also destroy the toxin.

Isolation Precautions

  • In the hospital setting, Standard Precautions are adequate for patients with botulism, since person-to-person transmission does not occur.
  • In the laboratory setting, sodium hypochlorite (0.1%) or sodium hydroxide (0.1 N) inactivate the toxin and are recommended by CDC for decontaminating work surfaces and spills of cultures or toxin (see References: CDC 1999: Biosafety in microbiological and biomedical laboratories).
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