Sacramento County Public Health officials have stated that an outbreak of botulism in the area, which affected five people, was likely caused by a Nacho Cheese sauce sold by a local Gas Station.

Gas station has food and drinks license temporarily revoked over botulism outbreak

The Valley Oak Food and Fuel is located on a stretch of road and is reportedly a popular stop along the busy highway for people looking for snacks. However, after it was discovered that the nacho cheese sauce they were serving likely caused the botulism outbreak, the Department of Environment Management on May 5 temporarily revoked the gas station's permit to sell food and drink products.

The Sacramento County Public Health Department said on Wednesday that they had tracked down the source of the botulism outbreak to “prepared food,” more especially the nacho cheese sauce sold by the gas station, causing five people to be hospitalized in a serious condition. One other patient is also suspected to have the illness. The health department said in a statement that anyone who ate prepared food from the gas station, particularly the nacho cheese sauce, should immediately contact their medical provider.

What is botulism and how is it treated?

Botulism is a rare paralytic illness which is caused by a nerve toxin. Symptoms reportedly include breathing problems, slurred speech, blurry vision and drooping eyelids. Hospitals apparently treat patients with an antitoxin. Patients then reportedly receive breathing support and intravenous liquids.

However, the World Health Organization states that between five to ten percent of cases of botulism are fatal.

As reported by the Food Poison Journal, most botulism patients rarely fully recover from the illness. During a period from three months to a year after suffering the illness, most experience side-effects, which can become permanent.

These include weakness, fatigue, dry mouth, dizziness and problems performing more strenuous tasks. Their psychological state is also affected, with many patients saying they feel less happy or peaceful after suffering the illness.

Other botulism outbreaks in the U.S.

As reported by the Sacramento Bee, there are currently two other cases of botulism under investigation by the California Department of Public Health in Orange County this week. Both cases are being considered to have been caused by a deer-antler tea product sold in the area. Other outbreaks of botulism include a 2015 incident, where some home-canned potatoes that were served at an Ohio church potluck. Back in 2014 there was a botulism outbreak relating to pesto sold by a San Clemente farm.