Cases of botulism in Europe following medical procedures with botulinum toxin


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From late February 2023 to 10 March 2023, 67 cases of food poisoning, possibly of iatrogenic origin, related to intragastric injection of botulinum toxin (BTX) were reported in Germany (12), Austria (1), Switzerland (1) and Turkey (53). ) ).


Currently available information indicates that all patients underwent a medical intervention to reduce body weight between 22 February and 1 March 2023.

Of the 63 cases with available detailed information, 60 were reported in an epidemiological context with treatment administered by a private hospital in Istanbul, and three other cases were related to treatment in a private hospital in Izmir, Turkey. Since the severity of the clinical picture of food poisoning varies, it is likely that some cases can still be identified.

The severity of the patients’ symptoms ranged from mild to severe, and several cases required hospitalization (many in ICU-ICU) and treatment with anti-botulinum toxin due to their clinical condition.

the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) strongly urges EU/EEA nationals not to undergo intragastric obesity treatment with BTX in Turkey, as this procedure is currently associated with a high risk of food poisoning.

Giant microbes

At present, it is not clear whether the resulting health problems are related only to the therapeutic or procedural process in the respective hospitals, or whether the problem is related to the product being administered. An investigation by Turkish authorities found that licensed BTX products were administered in the treatment, but that these products are not approved for this particular type of obesity treatment by intragastric injection. Therefore, the activities of the relevant departments in both hospitals have been suspended and an investigation has been opened against those involved. At the moment, there is no indication that the treatment will be organized commercially by a travel agency.

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