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June 16, 1951


Author Affiliations

Marion, Ind.; Philadelphia

Dr. Mattman is now Assistant Professor of Bacteriology, College of Liberal Arts, Wayne University, Detroit.; From the Surgical Service of Dr. William H. Erb, Philadelphia General Hospital, and the Harrison Department of Surgical Research, University of Pennsylvania.

JAMA. 1951;146(7):646-648. doi:10.1001/jama.1951.63670070006009d

Clostridium botulinum has been studied extensively because of its power to cause a fatal type of food poisoning. Animal studies have shown, that, at least experimentally, it can produce its toxin also when inoculated intramuscularly. To our knowledge, however, a serious infection with this organism has never been reported in man. In fact, the bacillus has been found in human wounds in only three cases, all reported by Hall1 in 1945.

In Hall's cases, only one patient had any untoward symptoms. He suffered incipient gas gangrene with a temperature of 105 F., and induration with crepitus of his injured leg. Sulfonamide therapy and surgery were utilized with a final satisfactory result. The two patients without symptoms harbored Cl. botulinum type A. The first patient's organism was type B.

Studies on the intramuscular injection of Cl. botulinum into animals have shown that it is not difficult to produce fatal infections.