Botulism is a rare but severe disease which is characterized by paralysis and inhibition of secretions. Only a few cases had been reported at the end of the 19th century in France. The disease was frequent during the second world war, and then the incidence decreased progressively. However, human botulism is still present in France with 10–25 cases every year. Food-borne botulism was the main form of botulism in France, whereas infant botulism (17 cases between 2004 and 2016) was rare, and wound and inhalational botulism were exceptional. Type B was the prevalent botulism type and was mainly due to consumption of home-made or small-scale preparations of cured ham and to a lesser extent other pork meat products. In the recent period (2000–2016), a wider diversity of botulism types from various food origin including industrial foods was reported. Severe cases of type A and F botulism as well as type E botulism were more frequent. Albeit rare, the severity of botulism justifies its continued surveillance and recommendations to food industry and consumers regarding food hygiene and preservation practices.
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