Investigators test dishes from church potluck after deadly botulism outbreak

Botulism outbreak in Ohio
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Botulism outbreak in Ohio 01:09

Story highlights

  • Investigators are testing samples from 23 potluck dishes
  • One person has died and there are 24 suspected botulism cases

(CNN)Investigators are trying to pinpoint which dish served at an Ohio church potluck was behind a botulism outbreak that killed one person and may have sickened dozens more.

Health officials will be testing 23 samples from Sunday's event at Cross Pointe Free Will Baptist Church in Lancaster, Ohio, Ohio Department of Health spokeswoman Cassie Bala said.
A 54-year-old woman has died and others are hospitalized from the outbreak.
    So far, Bala said, there are a total of 24 suspected cases, one laboratory-confirmed case and one person under observation as a precaution.
    Botulism is rarely fatal. Its symptoms typically begin within 36 hours of consuming contaminated food. It can cause paralysis, double vision, difficulty swallowing and respiratory failure.
    On Wednesday, Fairfield Medical Center in Lancaster said five patients were in critical condition and 10 were taken to hospitals in Columbus.
    "In this day and age, botulism from food is fairly rare. Generally it's canned foods," said Dr. Andrew Murry of Fairfield Medical Center. "The fatality rate is usually fairly low."
    At a press conference Wednesday, Murry stressed that botulism is not contagious and, in this instance, would only affect anyone who ate at the potluck.