ELLICOTT CITY, Md. — Howard County officials are warning the public about a potential botulism exposure possibly linked to an Ellicott City acupuncturist and herbal practice.
The county Health Department said anyone who may have purchased or consumed any food, teas, or other products that can be put in or on the body, or who otherwise received practice, from the business located in the 3300 block of St. Johns Lane is recommended to discard those items immediately. Any resident concerned about potential exposure can contact the Health Department at 410-313-1412 between 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Botulism is not a contagious disease, the Health Department said. Instead, it is caused by a toxin often associated with preserved or fermented foods. The toxin attacks the body’s nerves. Humans contract botulism by consuming substances with the toxins present. The first symptoms often include nausea or vomiting, as well as muscle weakness of the eyes, face, mouth, and throat. That weakness may then spread to the neck, arms, legs, and torso, which can lead to difficulties walking or breathing. If it advances far enough, botulism can cause death.
Anyone who may be experiencing the symptoms of botulism should seek medical help immediately. More about the disease can be learned from the Center for Disease Control’s website.