ECDC releases report on botulism type F

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control released a report on Wednesday that identified available evidence on the epidemiology, mobility and availability of treatment for botulism type F.

A familiar cluster of type F botulism caused by Clostridium baratii was identified in Spain in 2011. Spanish authorities issued a formal request to the ECDC to perform a literature review and consult with the European Medicines Agency to advise the country on the effectiveness and availability of treatment options in the European Union/European Economic Area.

The report determined that evidence points to the two main treatment options, bivalent AB antitoxin and trivalent ABE antitoxin, as being ineffective against botulism type F.

In the U.S., a new heptavalent antitoxin became the only available treatment for non-infant botulism in 2010. The report found that there is no heptavalent botulinum antitoxin approved as a medicinal product in the EU. The ECDC said that it cannot be excluded that EU Member States may have heptavalent botulism antitoxin available for emergency situations.

The ECDC expressed concern about the availability of botulism treatment in the EU.

"The recent cases of botulism type F in the EU, and the most recent discovery of a new toxin type H in the United States, raises some concern on the availability of effective treatment and preparedness at the EU level, which should be addressed by the competent institutions," the ECDC said. "Further monitoring of the epidemiological relevance of botulism type F in the EU, such as the inclusion of data on neurotoxin type and/or Clostridium sp. in the enhanced surveillance for botulism at EU level, should be considered."

According to the ECDC, botulism is characterized by progressive flaccid paralysis of autonomic and motor nerves and can result in vomiting, headache, double vision, paralysis, respiratory failure and death.