ISOLATION AND IDENTIFICATION OF CLOSTRIDIUM BOTULINUM IN STOOL SAMPLES OF INFANTS IN NURSERY SCHOOLS IN ENUGU, ENUGU STATE.
Clostridium botulinum, a ubiquitous organism is one of the most common pathogens known to man. The pathogenicity of this organism is enhanced by the production of highly resistant spores and toxins implicated in tissue necrosis and sclerosis. Foodborne botulism is rare but it may kill rapidly, and contaminated products may expose many persons. The prevalence of food poisoning by this bacterium is not well known and documented in Nigeria. Fifty nine stool samples each were taken from infants in three different nursery schools in Enugu State, Nigeria and examined for the presence of this organism. Isolates were identified by culture and microscopy, after which the isolates were confirmed by their biochemical and molecular characteristics. Clostridium botulinum was detected in the stool samples of some of the infants in nursery schools. Foodborne botulism represents a medical and public health emergency that places premium on rapid and effective communication between clinicians and public health officials. Health education is therefore paramount in eradicating this infection, hence the introduction of personal hygiene policy into educational curricula, will ultimately help to reduce the menace of botulism in schools.