Foodborne botulism in Canada, 1985-2005.
Bottom Line: Approximately 85% of the outbreaks occurred in Alaska Native communities, particularly the Inuit of Nunavik in northern Quebec and the First Nations population of the Pacific coast of British Columbia.These populations were predominantly exposed to type E botulinum toxin through the consumption of traditionally prepared marine mammal and fish products.Three affected pregnant women delivered healthy infants.
Affiliation: Health Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
During 1985-2005, a total of 91 laboratory-confirmed outbreaks of foodborne botulism occurred in Canada; these outbreaks involved 205 cases and 11 deaths. Of the outbreaks, 75 (86.2%) were caused by Clostridium botulinum type E, followed by types A (7, 8.1%) and B (5, 5.7%). Approximately 85% of the outbreaks occurred in Alaska Native communities, particularly the Inuit of Nunavik in northern Quebec and the First Nations population of the Pacific coast of British Columbia. These populations were predominantly exposed to type E botulinum toxin through the consumption of traditionally prepared marine mammal and fish products. Two botulism outbreaks were attributed to commercial ready-to-eat meat products and 3 to foods served in restaurants; several cases were attributed to non-Native home-prepared foods. Three affected pregnant women delivered healthy infants. Improvements in botulism case identification and early treatment have resulted in a reduction in the case-fatality rate in Canada.
Related in: MedlinePlus
Mentions: Most (85, 93.4%) confirmed botulism outbreaks originated in Quebec, British Columbia, Nunavut, and the Northwest Territories. Reported cases predominantly occurred in Quebec and British Columbia, with 89 and 71 cases, respectively; these cases accounted for 78% of the total number of cases (Table 3). Of 51 outbreaks in Quebec, 45 (88%) occurred in the Nunavik region of northern Quebec; 91% of these were clustered in 3 villages of southern Ungava Bay (Kuujjuaq, Kangiqsualujjuaq, and Tasiujaq), which are inhabited by an Inuit population of 2,587 (Figure 2). In British Columbia, 9 (64%) of 14 outbreaks (20 cases) occurred in First Nations communities located along the Pacific Coast. The high number of cases recorded in the province was primarily because of 2 large restaurant-associated outbreaks in Vancouver that affected 37 persons (17) and 11 persons (18). In Ontario, 3 outbreaks were recorded, with 1 affecting 3 persons and causing 1 death. No botulism cases were reported in the provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island during the study period.