Gas station nachos cause botulism in 5 people

Lavinia Kelly of Sacramento is one of at least five victims who came down with botulism from the nasty nacho cheese - believed to be the source of the potentially deadly bacterial infection, KABC reported.

According to ABC 7, Sacramento County health investigators have linked the other cases of botulism to the same food and fuel stop.

Food-borne illness outbreaks are often tied to fresh foods - unwashed raw vegetables, tainted undercooked meat, raw dairy products - but not the neon yellow nacho cheese sauce you'd get at a movie theater or convenience store.

"From the preliminary testing of the cheese, it was positive for botulism", said Dr. Oliva Kasirye, a health inspector with the Sacramento County Public Health Department, who has been part of the on-going investigation.

Kelly fell sick after she purchased a bag of Doritos at the gas station, she then drizzles the nachos with nacho cheese sauce which was available at the station for the customers.

On Wednesday, Kelly celebrated her 33rd birthday from her hospital room, unable to move.

The county revoked the gas station's permit to sell food and drinks on May 5 and is urging anyone who may have eaten at the there between April 23 and May 5 to see a doctor immediately.

Kelly's mom said her daughter is having trouble speaking and is only able to move her lips.

All nine are still being treated at area hospitals.

"Only human mistakes create the environment for botulinum toxin to form", her attorney told the Bee.

Kelly's family have since hired a Seattle law firm that specializes in food safety issues and they have filed a negligence lawsuit against the gas station.

Botulism can be contracted from home-canned foods like asparagus and beets, but has also been contracted from tomatoes, improperly handled baked potatoes, chopped garlic, and fermented or home-canned fish. 'We will use the lawsuit to learn more about the source of the food product that was contaminated.

Owners there did not return KTXL's calls for comment Tuesday.

As for the Kelly family, they continue to watch over Lavinia as she struggles to function on her own - even with breathing and opening her eyes. "That's an essential question".

However, for Lavinia, botulism was the result of the thick, gooey nacho cheese she consumed from the deli section of the Valley Oak Food and Fuel. Clark did say, "They're acquiring astounding medical bills".


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