1. Botulism is the single most acutely toxic substance (natural or manmade) known to science, with a median lethal dose of about 1 ng/kg, meaning that a few hundred grams could theoretically kill every human on earth. (For perspective, the rat poison strychnine, which is also considered to be highly toxic, has a median lethal dose of about 1,000,000 ng/kg, and it would take four hundred tons to kill every human).

2. It is also remarkably easy to come by: Clostridium spores (which form the botulinium toxin in the human intestine if inhaled) are found in soil practically all over the earth… particularly in the state of California.

3. Since botulism is so toxic, many (including the US government) have researched it’s application as a biological weapon. Although it hasn’t been used in overt warfare, it was used in "Operation Mongoose" where in 1961, the CIA saturated some cigars, of Fidel Castro’s favorite brand, with botulinum toxin for a possible assassination attempt. The cigars were never used, but when tested years later were found still effective.

4. And it sucks.

Botulism Fun Facts was first appeared last May 31 on Vita Hardy’s Blog.

Vita, who hails from Santa Cruz, CA, was 7 months old on July 4th and she is a botulism survivor.
According to her mother, a little over six weeks ago Vita  was diagnosed with botulism.  What followed was not pleasant, but the infant  is making an excellent recovery.  Both her encounter with Infant Botulism(IB) and her great recovery can be followed by looking at her blog entries for May and June.

Thanks to her Mom Jennifer for sharing it with us!