Lavinia Kelly from Sacramento contracted botulism, a severe type of food poisoning, after eating Doritos covered in nacho cheese sauce sold at a gas station.

Kelly’s case would be the fifth case of botulism to have occurred at said gas station. The cause of the poisoning remains unclear, although they believe that the nacho cheese sauce sold there is infected.

Nacho Cheese
Four additional probable patients are currently hospitalized. Image credit: iStock.

Avoid gas station nachos

On April 21, Lavinia Kelly was heading home from work with Ricky Torres, who saw her buy a bag of Doritos and then cover them with nacho cheese sauce from the gas station. Hours later, Kelly was feeling exhausted and on the next day, she started suffering from blurred vision, forcing her to go to emergencies at Sutter Medical Center. Reportedly, she was sent back home by the doctors.

Later that day, Kelly had difficulty breathing and started vomiting, to which Torres drove her to emergencies once again. Doctors put her in intensive care, where they discovered that Kelly had been poisoned so severely that she could not even open her eyes, although she remains conscious.

Lavinia Kelly
Lavinia Kelly. Image credit: Daily Mail via Facebook.

The symptoms line up with those of botulism, caused by the botulinum bacteria, which reproduces in humid places with reduced oxygen. After infection, the patient may have paralysis, and if not treated promptly, it can be fatal.

Torres claims not to know what happened since he cannot assume that a bag of chips with nacho cheese sauce can be considered lethal.

Authorities later confirmed that it is not the first time such an incident occurs. Sacramento County officials had removed the gas station’s permit to sell neither food or drinks. Kelly’s family is suing the gas station for product liability, negligence, and breach of implied warranty. The costs for Kelly’s health care are so high that her family started a GoFundMe campaign to help cover the expenses.

“She has 3 children. Although she has medical insurance, she is no longer able to support her family. Also, her family spends every second they can at the hospital with her & could really use help with food, bills and so many other expenses. Every little bit helps,” wrote Jodi Webber, Kelly’s sister.

Patients with botulism are connected to a breathing machine for weeks or months as the paralysis wears off. It is often treated with an antitoxin that helps clean the blood of toxins; if treatment begins early, the disease can be cured in a very short period.

Doctors also have to remove the contaminated products from the patient’s belly, either by inducing vomiting or by applying enemas. Because botulism can be contracted through open wounds, it sometimes requires doctors to treat them surgically to remove the bacteria that cause the disease. Deaths from botulism are mainly due to respiratory failure. Thankfully, the mortality of patients with botulism in the last 50 years has dropped from 50 percent to just 3 to 5 percent, according to the CDC.

Source: The Sacramento Bee