2 suspected cases from botulism from 'black tar' heroin

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by KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on September 14, 2011 at 2:09 PM

Updated Friday, Jan 4 at 10:45 AM

SEATTLE -- Seattle and King County health officials are investigating two cases of suspected botulism in residents who may have been infected by injecting contaminated "black tar" heroin.

The first case was an adult female with a history of using "black tar" heroin. She was treated at a hospital in August and showed symptoms of slurred speech, double vision and drooping eyelids. About a week later, an adult male with a similar history of "black tar" heroin use was treated with similar symptoms.

In both cases, their conditions worsened and they had to be admitted to an intensive care unit.

Botulism is suspected in both cases; Washington State Public Health Laboratory are conducting tests  to confirm the diagnosis.

Botulism-producing bacteria can contaminate "black tar" heroin, and injection drug users can develop botulism after injecting even if infected wounds aren't apparent.

Botulism can also be transmitted by consuming food that's contaminated with toxin-producing bacteria or their spores.

For more information, go to the Public Health - Seattle and King County website.
 

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