Suspected case of botulism under investigation


<div>Last week two persons were diagnosed with probable botulism. The suspected source of the infection is vacuum packed, hot-smoked whitefish. One of the patients is still hospitalised, but recovering well. </div>

The possible connection with the diagnosed botulism and consumption of hot-smoked whitefish is under investigation at the Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira. Together with local food control authorities, Evira plans an inspection visit to the establishment that manufactures the suspected fish product, in order to investigate the manufacturing process, starting with the Canadian raw material and all the way to the stores and the place where the fish was served.

The responsibility for laboratory analyses in the botulism epidemic rests with the Clostridium botulinum laboratory of the Department of Food and Environmental Hygiene at the University of Helsinki. The presence of botulinum neurotoxin in the blood samples of the hospitalised person has already been established and the type of the toxin is being investigated. The laboratory also conducts analyses of fish samples, particularly of the raw material and manufacturing batches, which the suspected product represented.

More information about the suspected case of botulism is provided on the Internet site of Evira at:

For more information, please contact:

Food safety:
Kyösti Siponen, Director, Food Safety Authority, tel. +358 (0) 20 77 24230, +358 (0) 50 3868412. E-mail:
Eija Läikkö, Senior Officer, Food Safety Authority, tel. +358 (0) 20 77 24270, +358 (0) 50 3868419. E-mail:

Markku Kuusi, Epidemiologist, National Public Health Institute, tel. +358 (0) 9 47448935

Laboratory analyses:
Miia Lindström, Researcher, University of Helsink/Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, tel. +358 (0) 40 520 3627
Hannu Korkeala, Professor, University of Helsink/Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, tel. +358 (0) 400 701 535

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