Health alert in Europe after 14 serious cases of botulism detected

Image of bacteria that cause botulism. Credit:

After 14 serious cases of botulism were detected, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) issued a health alert.

A report published by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) on Monday, March 13, warned of an increase in botulism cases in recent weeks in the region. Specifically, there have been 14 cases detected across Europe. They include 12 in Germany and one each in Switzerland and Austria.

All of the cases were found in patients who had undergone cosmetic treatments in Turkey. Apparently, they developed the disease after receiving intragastric injections of botulinum toxin, an operation that is carried out to lose weight. According to the report, 10 of the cases underwent treatment at the same Istanbul clinic between February 22 and 25.

The clinical prognosis of those affected varied from mild to severe, with some requiring hospitalisation. As revealed in the ECDC bulletin, some even ended up admitted to Intensive Care Units. The cases all involved middle-aged adults.

ECDC officials recommend that anybody who may have travelled to Istanbul to undergo an aesthetic treatment of this type and who now experiences symptoms compatible with botulism should ‘seek medical attention as soon as possible’.

Botulism is a rare but serious condition caused by a toxin that attacks the nerves in the body. It can occur as a result of food contamination or injury. The disease can also occur when spores of a bacterium grow in the baby’s intestine.

Sometimes botulism occurs when too much botulinum toxin is injected for cosmetic or medical purposes. This rare type is called ‘iatrogenic botulism’. It can cause serious side effects, including headache, facial paralysis, and muscle weakness, as reported by


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Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]