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Warning: Mom of 3 paralyzed with botulism after eating gas station cheese dip

A Sacramento mom of three, Lavinia Kelly, has been hospitalized for three weeks with botulism poisoning after drizzling nacho cheese sauce on a bag of chips after work last month. Kelly, who turned 33 while in the ICU,  is one of five victims who became ill after eating prepared food from the Walnut Grove Valley Oak Food and Fuel gas station between mid-April through early May, according to the Sacramento Bee. 

Kelly’s partner, Ricky Torres, told the Bee that within hours of eating a bag of chips with cheese sauce on them she began to feel extreme fatigue. The next morning, she experienced double vision and went to Sutter Medical Center, although ultimately, they sent her home. Later that evening, Torres recounts, she began to vomit and have trouble breathing so he took her to the emergency room.

The next day Kelly was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit and put on a ventilator, where she has been ever since.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), botulism is “a rare but serious paralytic illness cause by a nerve toxin.” Most cases of botulism poisoning occur from home canned foods, however store bought foods may also be a source of the very serious condition.

The CDC states symptoms of foodborne botulism can begin as soon as six hours after eating the contaminated food and “classic symptoms of botulism poisoning include double vision, blurred vision, drooping eyelids, slurred speech, difficulty swallowing, dry mouth and muscle weakness.”

Patients with severe botulism may need to be on a ventilator for months as well as undergo intensive medical and nursing care for several months. Infections associated with the extended use of a ventilator and paralysis may, in some cases, lead to death.

Lavinia Kelly’s family has filed a civil lawsuit against the gas station that sold the poison food. The lawsuit does not specify damages.

“She has remained in intensive care ever since, unable to move much, speak, breathe on her own, or open her eyes. Family members must pull her eyelids up to enable her to see at all,” reported Food Safety News.

Sacramento public health officials told Food Safety News that nine people have been hospitalized after consuming food purchased at the gas station and five have been confirmed with botulism poisoning. They are investigating another three “probable cases” and one additional “suspect” case.

“I’ve never seen my sister not have function of her body or not be able to communicate,” Kelly’s sister told ABC 7 News,

A GoFundMe fundraiser has been set up to help Lavinia Kelly’s family pay for her skyrocketing medical expenses.

[Feature Photo: Facebook]