The New York City Health Department is investigating one confirmed and one suspect case of botulism, a rare but serious foodborne illness caused by an extremely potent toxin. Both patients are Chinese-speaking Queens residents and had recently purchased unrefrigerated fresh bulk tofu from the same store in Flushing.
Botulism impairs the body’s nervous system. The symptoms include blurred or double vision, weakness or paralysis, poor reflexes, difficulty swallowing and speaking, and difficulty breathing. Symptoms of foodborne botulism usually occur 12-36 hours after ingestion, but may take several days.