Oct 5, 2011 5:50 PM by Dr. Anya Winslow
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Utah health officials are investigating a suspected botulism outbreak in 12 inmates who may have contracted the disease after drinking alcohol homebrewed inside a prison cell.
Salt Lake Valley Health Department spokesman Nicholas Rupp says eight men were hospitalized, three of which are in critical condition Wednesday. Four inmates also are being treated at the prison.
Department of Corrections officials say the inmates drank the home-brewed alcohol over the weekend. The first of the inmates became ill on Sunday.
Health officials say foodborne botulism is a rare, but serious illness that can cause paralysis. It's caused by a nerve toxin that is produced by bacteria.
Rupp says the eight hospitalized inmates have been treated for the disease with an anti-toxin obtained from the Centers for Disease Control.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)