General Overview: The deadliest toxin known to man,
botulinum toxin acts quickly and systematically, shutting down
the body through progressive paralysis. This paralysis
effectively causes a respiratory failure and, ultimately, death.
Botulism emerges in three different
forms: foodborne, infant & wound. Foodborne botulism
represents the greatest threat to the public sector because of
the danger of the contaminated spreading before the source can
be identified & quarantined. The most frequent source of
foodborne botulism in the U.S. comes from poor preparation &
handling of home-canned foods.
One challenge identified by the CDC
in Dec. '03 was "[the] prep-aration for a possible attack on the
[U.S.] with botulinum toxin."