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Doralice Carneiro Sobreira: Woman spends a year in hospital after farmer's market pesto leads to botulism

'My body didn’t feel right, my breathing had gotten worse, and my tongue felt like it was tingling,' Doralice Carneiro Sobreira, 47, said
PUBLISHED SEP 29, 2023
(Representative image - Pexels/Thiea Alhoz)
(Representative image - Pexels/Thiea Alhoz)

BRAZIL: A woman reportedly went through a nightmare after eating pesto that she bought at a farmer’s market.

Doralice Carneiro Sobreira had to spend more than a year in hospital following the consumption of the sauce in January last year after buying it on December 31, 2021, The Independent reported.

The 47-year-old shared, “The pesto didn’t have an expiration date, and [the person who sold it to me] didn’t give me storage instructions either, but I was a frequent customer [at the store].”

What happened to Doralice Carneiro Sobreira?

Sobreira described how she felt after eating the pesto, saying, “My body didn’t feel right, my breathing had gotten worse, and my tongue felt like it was tingling."

“I drove 20 kilometers to the hospital, parked the car, and then my body stopped working,” she said.

She continued, “I couldn’t move my body so I threw myself out of the car. It was then I saw an employee with a wheelchair, so I shouted, to which they then came over and helped me into it.”

Sobreira then went on to explain how she could not stop vomiting and struggled with breathing so doctors had to take her for a computerized tomography (CT) scan.

Soon, it was discovered that the woman was temporarily paralyzed and had botulism.

What is botulism?

According to Mayo Clinic, “Botulism is a rare but serious condition caused by a toxin that attacks the body's nerves.”

“Botulism may cause life-threatening symptoms. A type of bacteria called Clostridium botulinum produces the toxin. Botulism can occur as the result of food or wound contamination,” it adds.

Doralice Carneiro Sobreira said ‘bacteria had formed in the pesto’

The woman said, as per The Independent, “It was one of the only things I had recently eaten, [and] it was homemade. It seemed that a bacteria had formed in the pesto, which contained a toxin.”

The health issue forced her to be in the hospital for over 12 months. She revealed, “I had treatments every day of the week."

“I was…given dry compressions and electroshocks to relieve chronic pain. When I got more strength in my upper body, I also adapted [to] playing table tennis,” she said.

Sobreira is now out of the hospital. “I have been breathing without help for nine months, which is a good sign. I have the help of a walker to help me get around, but it’s still hard,” she said.

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