10 botulism cases linked to gas station nacho cheese, 1 death may be connected

ANTIOCH, Calif. - The number of patients now trying to battle back from botulism tied to food at a California gas station has jumped to 10 and a man’s death may also be linked to the outbreak.

According to the East Bay Times, Martin Galindo, 37, of Antioch was declared brain-dead and taken off of life support Thursday night in a San Francisco hospital. A GoFundMe page created by his family reports that Galindo was diagnosed “with a rare case of botulism” and went into a coma.

As of Friday night, Galindo’s illness and eventual death have not been confirmed by the California Department of Health as having ties to the botulism outbreak.

The California Department of Public Health and four local public health departments are investigating the 10 cases of botulism that have linked back to nacho cheese served at the Valley Oak Food and Fuel. Officials say the cheese was removed May 5 and is no longer being sold by the store.

Thirty-three-year-old Lavinia Kelly ate some of the nacho cheese sauce from Valley Oak Food and Fuel.

Kelly’s now been in intensive care for three weeks, suffering the full body paralytic effects that are also keeping others hospitalized.

She’s filed a suit against the gas station in part because of how long and difficult recovery will be.

“Once toxin is bound to the neuromuscular system, it’s a fairly irreversible procedure,” said Dr. Brett Laurence, an infection control specialist at Sutter General Hospital where Kelly’s being treated. “We have to wait for that to wear off and for new nerves to grow and then recovery begins from there.”

Until nerves regrow, doctors can only provide supportive care to patients, helping them breathe with ventilators and providing intravenous nutrition.