The outbreak began last month when several people got sick after eating nacho cheese sauce purchased from Valley Oak Food & Fuel in Walnut Grove, California.
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued a statement Monday indicating that the sauce had tested positive for toxins released by bacteria that cause botulism. The same toxins were identified in patients tested by the department.
Although CDPH did not name the specific brand of cheese sauce implicated in the outbreak, an inspector from the Sacramento County Health Department reported impounding “four bags of Gehls (sic) cheese sauce” from the gas station on May 8.
Ten people have been confirmed in the botulism outbreak, including 37-year-old Martin Galindo-Larios Jr., who died Thursday, according to the San Francisco Medical Examiner’s office. The other 9 victims remain hospitalized.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), botulism is a rare but serious paralytic illness caused by a nerve toxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. Symptoms of botulism can appear from 6 hours to 10 days after the initial infection, and may include:
- Difficulty swallowing or speaking
- Facial weakness on both sides of the face
- Blurred vision
- Drooping eyelids
- Trouble breathing
- Nausea, vomiting, and abdominal cramps
Anyone who recently ate cheese sauce from the Valley Oak Food & Fuel gas station in Walnut Grove, CA, and developed symptoms of botulism poisoning should seek immediate medical attention, CDPH said.