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Date of last update: 10/12/2017.

Forum Name: Other infections

Question: Cut from Broken Jar of Bad Canned Food

 Harrperr - Sun Jan 04, 2009 10:46 am

I cut my hand on a jar of broken canned food. I am sure the food was bad (the smell was awful & lasted for hours after I cleaned it up) I am concerned that the cut on my hand came into contact with the jar contents. I allowed it to bleed then washed it with soap & water. Could I contract botulism from this type of incident? Is it advisable to see my Physician?
Thank you.
 Tom Plamondon PA-C - Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:44 am

User avatar Hello,
Treating any fresh laceration with irrigation and compression is wise.

Botulism is rare. Mode of transmission include ingestion, topically through wounds, and inhalation. The botulism bacteria (Clostridia botulium) thrives in low oxygen environments however in food, the spores have already produced their toxins.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), 110 cases on average are reported in the US each year.
- 72% are infant botulism (most are from inhaling dust containing botulism bacteria spores)
- 25% are food borne
- 3% are from wounds (usually IV drug users - heroine)

Monitor for wound for signs of infection (warmth, redness, pain, swelling, and pus); also monitor for flu like symptoms and paralysis of the face, limbs, and respiratory muscles. If botulism is seriously suspected, this is an emergency and seek immediate medical care.

Again, botulism would be very unlikely.

I would be more concerned about tetanus.
Tetanus vaccination shot should be given every 7-10 years. Every 5 years for potential exposure.

If you haven't had a tetanus shot in 5 years, see your physician.

Hope this helps. Let us know if you have any more questions.

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