I just landed at the Hawaii airport on my way to Australia and I see the following headline:
Botulism suspected in ailing Maui man
Hawaii health officials are investigating the case of a Maui man who might have contracted botulism from a recalled canned food product.
On Tuesday, Jonathan Stockton of Maui ate a can of Cattle Drive brand chili, one of the recalled products. Two days later he checked into Maui Memorial Medical Hospital with muscle weakness and paralysis in his face.
State Department of Health officials said yesterday that Stockton’s case meets some clinical criteria for botulism. Officials are trying to confirm the botulism poisoning by sending Stockton’s blood samples to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. If recovered, a sample of the chili will also be sent in for testing, officials said.
A week ago, Castleberry’s Food Co. in Augusta, Ga., recalled more than 90 brands of canned food, shutting down its plant. Two people in Texas and two in Indiana were confirmed to be sick and hospitalized from the contaminated food, according to the CDC. Castleberry’s makes Cattle Drive chili.
In California, officials are trying to confirm a link between a case of confirmed botulism in a San Diego woman and the recalled food.
Hawaii health officials are conducting spot checks to remove any of the recalled products that could still be on store shelves.
The last confirmed Hawaii botulism case was in 1990, according to Janice Okubo, state Health Department spokeswoman.