Reoccurrence of #botulinum #neurotoxin subtype A3 inducing food-borne #botulism, #Slovakia, 2015 (@eurosurveillanc, abstract)

[Source: Eurosurveillance, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

Eurosurveillance, Volume 22, Issue 32, 10 August 2017  / Surveillance and outbreak report

Reoccurrence of botulinum neurotoxin subtype A3 inducing food-borne botulism, Slovakia, 2015

L Mad’arová 1 , BG Dorner 2 3 , L Schaade 3 , V Donáth 4 , M Avdičová 1 , M Fatkulinová 1 , J Strhársky 1 , I Sedliačiková 1 , C Klement 1 5 , MB Dorner 2 3

Author affiliations: 1. Regional Authority of Public Health Banská Bystrica, Banská Bystrica, Slovakia; 2. Robert Koch Institute, Consultant laboratory for neurotoxin-producing clostridia (botulism, tetanus), Berlin, Germany; 3. Robert Koch Institute, Centre for Biological Threats and Special Pathogens, Berlin, Germany; 4. F. D. Roosevelt Teaching Hospital, Department of Neurology, Slovak Medical University, Banská Bystrica, Slovakia; 5. Slovak Medical University, Faculty of Public Health, Bratislava, Slovakia

Correspondence: Martin Bernhard Dorner (

Citation style for this article: Mad’arová L, Dorner BG, Schaade L, Donáth V, Avdičová M, Fatkulinová M, Strhársky J, Sedliačiková I, Klement C, Dorner MB. Reoccurrence of botulinum neurotoxin subtype A3 inducing food-borne botulism, Slovakia, 2015. Euro Surveill. 2017;22(32):pii=30591. DOI:

Received:10 June 2016; Accepted:25 November 2016



A case of food-borne botulism occurred in Slovakia in 2015. Clostridium botulinum type A was isolated from three nearly empty commercial hummus tubes. The product, which was sold in Slovakia and the Czech Republic, was withdrawn from the market and a warning was issued immediately through the European Commission’s Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF). Further investigation revealed the presence of botulinum neurotoxin (BoNT) subtype BoNT/A3, a very rare subtype implicated in only one previous outbreak (Loch Maree in Scotland, 1922). It is the most divergent subtype of BoNT/A with 15.4% difference at the amino acid level compared with the prototype BoNT/A1. This makes it more prone to evading immunological and PCR-based detection. It is recommended that testing laboratories are advised that this subtype has been associated with food-borne botulism for the second time since the first outbreak almost 100 years ago, and to validate their immunological or PCR-based methods against this divergent subtype.

Keywords: Clostridium Botulinum; Botulism; Slovakia.


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Giuseppe Michieli

I am an Italian blogger, active since 2005 with main focus on emerging infectious diseases such as avian influenza, SARS, antibiotics resistance, and many other global Health issues. Other fields of interest are: climate change, global warming, geological and biological sciences. My activity consists mainly in collection and analysis of news, public services updates, confronting sources and making decision about what are the 'signals' of an impending crisis (an outbreak, for example). When a signal is detected, I follow traces during the entire course of an event. I started in 2005 my blog ''A TIME'S MEMORY'', now with more than 40,000 posts and 3 millions of web interactions. Subsequently I added an Italian Language blog, then discontinued because of very low traffic and interest. I contributed for seven years to a public forum ( in the midst of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa in 2014, I left the site to continue alone my data tracking job.