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9 people hospitalized after eating gas station nacho cheese

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by: KIRO 7 News Staff

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – California health inspectors have linked last week’s botulism outbreak — a rare and sometimes fatal form of food poisoning — to a nacho cheese sauce traced back to a mom-and-pop gas station in Walnut Grove, CBS Sacramento reports.

State and county health officials have confirmed nine people have been hospitalized, including possibly a 16-year-old. Five cases were first reported on May 5. This week four more people have become sick.

CBS News reports a tenth person is being tested after showing similar symptoms related to the rare and potentially fatal illness.

Botulism, a rare food poisoning, can lead to paralysis, breathing difficulty and sometimes death. According to the Centers for Disease Control, botulism is caused by a toxin produced by bacteria. Symptoms include blurry vision, slurred speech, muscle weakness and difficulty swallowing.

One of the people sickened last month has filed a lawsuit against the gas station.

Lavinia Kelly has been in the hospital for three weeks and is unable to speak. Kelly also can’t keep her eyelids open, her partner, Ricky Torres said.

Officials have stripped the gas station of its permit to sell food and drinks. Employees have not responded to requests for comment.

The Associated Press and CBS News contributed to this report.

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