Multiple Californians have contracted botulism, a rare and potentially deadly poisoning after eating nachos purchased at a local gas station.
According to CBS News, Lavinia Kelly, a mother of three, was one of at least five people hospitalized when she contracted botulism after consuming contaminated nacho cheese from a gas station in Northern California last month.
Kelly called her sister for help when she noticed something was wrong.
“My phone rings, and I pick up the phone, and it’s her. And she can’t articulate a word,” said Kelly’s sister, Theresa Kelly. “And she’s basically saying, ‘Sister, I need you here now.’”
Lavinia Kelly could barely breathe or open her eyes.
“Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea. But then symptoms that start are typically in the face with neurologic manifestations, so difficulty swallowing, difficulty speaking. Maybe one eyelid is dragging,” Dr. Sean Townsend at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco said of botulism symptoms, WABC reported. Blurry vision and slurred speech are also symptoms.
“It’s really scary. And to think if her and my mother had eaten there,” Theresa Kelly said, according to KTXL. “My mom’s older. If my mom had eaten there, I don’t know if we would have lost both of them.”
According to CBS News, Lavinia Kelly purchased Doritos at Valley Oak Food and Fuel in Walnut Grove, California, on April 21. She drizzled the chips with cheese sauce before consuming them.
Botulism, caused by a toxin found in bacterial spores, can cause paralysis in its worst cases. Between 5 and 10 percent of botulism cases are fatal, according to the World Health Organization.
Lavinia Kelly is now in intensive care. She has been in the ICU with minimal function for three weeks, CBS News reported. According to WABC, she cannot open her her eyes and has no motor functions.
Her family says she’s expected to recover. They plan to take legal action against the gas station, CBS News reported.
“Somebody needs to be accountable. Somebody needs to pay attention to what the heck they’re ... doing, you know? It’s crazy,” Dawn Kelly, Lavinia Kelly’s mother, said, according to KTXL.
The Valley Oak Food and Fuel gas station stopped selling food and drinks May 5 after the county Department of Environmental Management temporarily revoked its permit, The Sacramento Bee reported.
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