Botulism outbreak in jail due to illicit potato brew

POTATOES have been banned from the kitchen of a maximum security prison in the US state of Arizona following an outbreak of botulism linked to illicit brewing.

Eight prisoners were hospitalised for treatment of an acute neurologic condition caused by Clostridium botulinum after drinking pruno, an alcoholic beverage brewed from potatoes and sugar, Arizona health department officials said.

The patients tested positive for botulinum toxin type A and received heptavalent botulinum antitoxin.

Seven of the eight men had to be intubated for 11–14 days due to respiratory muscle paralysis, before receiving tracheostomies, the officials reported to the US Centers for Disease Control.

MMWR 2013;62:88-89