2 hospitalized following injection of Botox-like substance in Illinois

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Illinois health officials and state regulators are investigating after two people were hospitalized after showing botulism symptoms from suspected counterfeit Botox.

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), the two individuals received injections from a licensed nurse in LaSalle County, who was not permitted to perform such work.

The two people experienced blurred or double vision, droopy face, fatigue, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, and hoarse voice, symptoms consistent with botulism. The concern is the patients may have been injected with a counterfeit product.

A similar cluster of cases was reported by the Tennessee Department of Health.

Botulism is a rare but potentially deadly illness that attacks the body’s nerves and can cause muscle paralysis. The bacteria Clostridium botulinum is present in Botox, but only in a purified form approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

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“Receiving these treatments in unlicensed, unapproved settings can put you or your loved ones at serious risk for health problems,” IDPH Director Dr. Sameer Vohra said. “Please only seek cosmetic services under the care of licensed professionals trained to do these procedures and who use FDA approved products. If you are experiencing any health problems after a recent cosmetic treatment, please contact your healthcare provider immediately for help and assistance.”

The IDPH is in contact with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and FDA.

The Illinois Department of Professional Regulation (IDFPR) handles licensing for injecting Botox. Cosmetologists and estheticians are prohibited from performing injections under their licenses.

The IDPH provides an online License Lookup Tool for all consumers to see if a service provider is licensed in the state.

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