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Keywords:

  • botulism;
  • botulism diagnosis;
  • botulism poisoning;
  • Botulism Questionnaire;
  • botulinum toxin

Abstract

A botulism-induced mass casualty incident has the potential to severely compromise a community's health-care infrastructure, based upon its lethality, rare occurrence, and duration of symptoms, which require extensive support and care. Although early recognition and treatment with antitoxin or botulism immunoglobulin are essential to the effective management of this type of an incident, the two major challenges in recognition and treatment are the hundreds, if not thousands, of casualties or potential casualties requiring rapid screening and the fact that most clinicians remain ignorant of the management of botulism. The purpose of this article is to present the Botulism Questionnaire, which will assist with the screening of casualties, provide educational and diagnostic cues for clinicians and the lay public, and create a layer of protection for the health-care infrastructure. The applications of this questionnaire in various formats, the numerous points of distribution, and the variety of platforms from which it can be launched will be explored.