Botulism Type E from native foods in the arctic regions

B. Zane Horowitz, Keahi Mookini Horowitz

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


Botulism in the Arctic regions has occurred with some unique food sources. Native fermentation of fish heads, fish eggs, and beaver tail allow proper conditions for botulinum toxin to be elaborated from Clostridium botulinum. The consumption of whale meat with the skin attached (muktuk) also had been associated with outbreaks of botulism. These unique foods are not consumed anywhere else in the world, and have a disproportionate association with botulism clusters. Cases of botulism from consuming these foods in Alaska and Canada have been described for more than a century. The serotype implicated in botulism from native Arctic foods is almost always type E. Coastal soils from this part of the world are rich in botulism type E. The other distinguishing characteristics of type E botulism is that it can withstand freezing down to3.5 o Celsius, and that it is not saccharolytic, unlike types A and B. Type E botulism has been associated with Norwegian "rakfisk" preparation, a process similar to fermented Arctic foods. Importation of vacuum-packed whitefish from Alaska and Canada has also been associated with sporadic cases of botulism in Europe.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationBotulinum Toxins and Botulism
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781634834117
ISBN (Print)9781634833844
StatePublished - Jul 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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