South Plains Residents Urged To Check Pantries - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

8/1/07

South Plains Residents Urged To Check Pantries

The Lubbock Health Department is urging you to check the cans in your pantry after two Abernathy students became infected with Botulism.  One of them remains hospitalized Wednesday night. 

The students are siblings who ate tainted Castleberry chili on June 28th.  As NewsChannel 11 told you last week, a recall forced stores to quickly remove millions of cans of Castleberry brand chili, hash, and stew from their shelves.

Investigators from the Food & Drug Administration say the company did not properly cook some of its products, allowing the Botulism bacteria to survive the canning process.

The two cases accounted for 50% of the confirmed cases in the nation Wednesday night.  There were are only four confirmed cases in the U.S. Wednesday, two right here on the South Plains and two in Indiana.  The CDC is also investigating possible cases in California and New Mexico.

The 7th grade girl from Abernathy was on a ventilator at Covenant Hospital Wednesday night.  She was admitted with symptoms of paralysis.  We checked late Wednesday night, and she was still in critical condition. Her brother, though, a freshman at Abernathy ISD is doing better. Doctors released him last week.

NewsChannel 11 is also warning viewers that Castleberry is not the only threat that could be in the cupboard.

"Check their pantries," Lubbock County Health Coordinator Tigi Ward said. 

Just because it's off store shelves, that doesn't mean it's not in your home.

"Look for infected products," Ward said. 

A can of Castleberry Austex Hot Dog Chili Sauce is believed to have sent the two Abernathy students to the hospital.

"It only occurs if someone happens to eat or swallow contaminated food," Ward said.

Castleberry Brand isn't the only thing you should be looking for, though. Botulism can be spread simply by dented cans.

Here's what you need to watch out for: dents on the seam, or dents where the side and end meet.  Also, sharp dents because they could poke a small hole in the can that would allow microorganisms to grow.

Swelling or bulging cans also need to go, along with cans that have rust that won't wipe off. The best decision, 'if in doubt, throw it out'.  '

"Untreated symptoms will progress down the body causing paralysis; it can be life threatening," Ward said. 

If you do think you ate one of the recalled products, here's what you need to watch out for: difficulty swallowing or speaking, facial weakness, double vision, trouble breathing, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, and paralysis.

Again, botulism can be fatal if left untreated, so if you come down with these symptoms go to your doctor for a check up.

For a list of all the recalled products, (click here).

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