Botulism at Cross Pointe Free Will Baptist Church in Lancaster, Ohio

Our law firm is investigating a botulism outbreak linked to a potluck at the Cross Pointe Free Will Baptist Church in Lancaster, Ohio. The outbreak sickened 23 people, one of whom, a 54-year-old woman, tragically died.

For families suffering through this difficult time, our thoughts are with you.  Attorney Fred Pritzker and his Bad Bug Law Team® have represented patients and families in these situations. This bacterial illness can cause paralysis, which generally reverses with treatment, but it can be permanent.


The illnesses were made public by Fairfield Medical Center after 18 patients treated in the emergency department were diagnosed. All had typical symptoms of botulism, including double vision, blurred vision, droopy eyelids and difficulty swallowing, within 18 to 36 hours after the potluck. All of the patients had attended a potluck on Sunday, April 19, 2015 at the Cross Pointe Free Will Baptist Church in Lancaster.

The CDC flew in anti-toxin last night, and it has been administered to patients. Several people are in critical condition, on ventilators in a hospital in Columbus. Botulism is treatable, but it can take months for a patient to recover, and some of the damage may be permanent.

Health officials believe 50 to 60 people, including 10 children, attended the potluck. All of them should seek medical attention.

Some food item served at the potluck caused the illnesses, but it is not known which one. A detailed analysis of food served at the potluck and interviews with patients and their families may provide clues.

Botulism is the illness caused by toxins produced by Clostridium botulinum, bacteria that can grow in under-processed food, or food like potato salad or minced garlic that is left unrefrigerated for long periods of time.

Clostridium Botulinum from the CDC

Generally, only about 145 cases a year are reported in the United States, according to the CDC.

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Category: Food Poisoning
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