Two Cincinnati residents hospitalized with botulism - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Officials: 2 Cincinnati residents hospitalized with botulism

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The Cincinnati Health Department says the VR Green Farms pesto sauce seems to be the cause in both cases. (PHOTO via VR Green Farms) The Cincinnati Health Department says the VR Green Farms pesto sauce seems to be the cause in both cases. (PHOTO via VR Green Farms)
CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) -

Two Cincinnati residents have been hospitalized with botulism after a nationwide recall of California sauces.

Steven Englender, director of the Center for Public Health Preparedness in the Cincinnati Health Department, said they have found presumptive laboratory evidence of type B botulism and confirmed two clinical cases of botulism.

"It's pretty rare. We're talking less than a couple hundred cases per year nationwide," said Englender. 15 percent of cases of the serious illness are food borne, according to the CDC.

Englender said in an email to city spokesman Rocky Merz Monday that the patients, both in their 20s, were improving. One patient was on a ventilator and had been transferred to an acute long-term care facility. The other patient was off assisted breathing. That patient may have since been discharged.

"There would be every reason to expect they'll be back to normal sooner or later," said Englender. He became aware of the cases about 10 days ago and said that the infected people know each other.

The Cincinnati Health Department says a pesto sauce seems to be the cause in both cases. 

The pesto sauce is from California food company VR Green Farms and the California Department of Public Health warned consumers last week not to eat the jarred sauces because they were possibly contaminated with botulism.

Englender says the product made its way to Cincinnati because one of the local persons affected has family in California. 

The CDPH announced they were working with the U.S. FDA as well as the Ohio Department of Health to investigate botulism infections possibly associated with VR Green Farms' Pine Nut Basil Pesto.

VR Green Farms voluntarily recalled Pine Nut Basil Pesto, Pickled Farm Mix, Old World Tomato Sauce, Sundried Tomatoes in Olive Oil, Tuscan Grilling Sauce and Pasta Sauce.

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