Laboratory Test Information Guide

Details for Botulism (Botulism Toxin)

Test Name: Botulism (Botulism Toxin)
Alternate Name(s): Stool Culture for Botulism
Laboratory: Microbiology (VH)
Specimen Type: Faecal samples (approximately 10g if available)
Enema fluid in a sterile container
Gastric contents in a sterile container
Serum (from 20 ml of blood collected before administration of antitoxin) in 5 mL Gold or 6 mL Red top Vacutainer tubes
For suspected infant botulism, the essential material for analysis is the infant's faeces. As constipation is a common symptom, the soiled parts of diapers, a rectal swab, 2 ml of serum or a combination of samples may be submitted if necessary
Collection Information: Contact Medical Microbiologist before collecting sample.

Specimens must be collected prior to administration of Botulinum Antitoxin.

Contact the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to access Botulinum Antitoxin.

Public Health Units direct collection of suspected food sources for testing.

Prior to submission of a sample, Botulism Reference Service must be notified.
Botulism Reference Service for Canada: Laboratory (613) 957‐0885, 24h/7d consultation (613) 296‐1139

Suspected cases must be reported to the Public Health Unit by the most responsible care provider.
Test Schedule: Referred out weekdays
Turnaround time from when specimen
is received in testing laboratory:
Reference Range: See report
Effective Date: 2010-09-13
Revised Date: 2020-03-09
Critical Value:  
Interpretive Comments: Botulism is a reportable disease.
Special Processing:  
Method of Analysis:  
Critical Information Required:  
Storage & Shipment: Specimen must be refrigerated.
Specimen must be received within 24 hours of collection.
System Codes: 
Med.Microbiologist consult req
Referred To: Botulism Reference Service
Health Canada, Banting Research Centre
251 Sir Frederick Banting Driveway, Room D457
Tunney's Pasture,
Ottawa, Ontario

Questions? Comments? Contact Laura Gopaul