Prison Wine-O Number Eight Shows Up Late to the Botulism Party

An eighth state prison inmate in Florence is receiving medical care for the suspected bad batch of prison wine some inmates consumed over the weekend.

Pinal County officials said seven inmates were hospitalized by noon Sunday with botulism, and it's believed that the homemade "pruno" is what did the inmates in.

See also:
-Bad Prison Wine Blamed for Landing Seven Inmates in Intensive Care

This eighth inmate apparently isn't as messed up as his fellow cons, as county officials said yesterday afternoon that he didn't appear to be in bad enough shape to need the anti-toxin used to treat botulism.

He was still under evaluation, though, and the Centers for Disease Control was still testing the prison wine to see if that was the cause. County officials say they don't know how long that testing is going to take.

This whole case started when four prison-wine connoisseurs got super-sick around the same time on Saturday, and by noon Sunday, seven inmates were in intensive care.

The CDC did release the aforementioned anti-toxin to the medical professionals treating that original set of inmates.

County health officials aren't certain that the "pruno" is to blame, but prison officials did find samples of this prison wine to send to the CDC -- so it sounds plausible.

According to the county's health folks, "Sickness and death from botulism toxicity was more common many years ago, often coming from home-canned food and fruits. Increased attention to food safety and proper food handling methods has dramatically decreased the number of human toxicity cases from botulism."

The Arizona State Prison Complex-Eyman, in Florence, made it almost three months without a prison-wine/botulism incident.

On August 6, four inmates were hospitalized, and believe it or not, the seven inmates hospitalized in this incident were all being housed in the same unit as the last incident -- Special Management Unit 1 of the Florence prison.

According to the latest count from the prison (today), 513 inmates are housed in this unit. In total, 5,143 inmates call the prison home.

According to the CDC's "Botulism Annual Summary" from 2010, there were just 112 cases of botulism nationwide that year, and only nine of those came from food.

So, if the prison wine's to blame, inmates from this prison would account for more botulism cases from food than nationwide in 2010.

Again, here is a link to a prison-wine recipe that may not give you botulism.

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley