California Mom Paralyzed By Doritos Covered In Gas Station Cheese

Published May 19, 2017
Updated February 6, 2019
Published May 19, 2017
Updated February 6, 2019

Doctors are unsure of the 33-year-old's prognosis.

Nacho Cheese Botulism

GofundmeLavinia Kelly with her three children.

At least five people have been hospitalized in California due to gas station nacho cheese.

The yellow sauce has been linked to an outbreak of botulism — an illness that can cause breathing difficulty, paralysis, and even death.

One of the victims, 33-year-old Lavinia Kelly, has been in intensive care for a month and can no longer speak or breathe on her own.

“Botulism is a rare but serious paralytic illness caused by a nerve toxin that is produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum,” a Sacramento County Health and Human Services Department statement warned. “Symptoms can include double vision, blurred vision, drooping eyelids, slurred speech, difficulty swallowing, dry mouth, and muscle weakness.”

Kelly’s family has filed a civil lawsuit against Valley Oak Food and Fuel, the gas station responsible for the outbreak.

The mother of three can no longer open her eyes and doctors are unsure what her prognosis might be.

“We just don’t understand why this happened over a bag of chips and nacho cheese,” her partner said. “Really? How does this happen?”

Botulism, which is extremely rare, is caused by improper food handling during manufacturing or at retail.

Only 3-5% of patients with botulism die, though the recovery process can take months of intensive medical care.

Next, read about the 5 scariest diseases scientists found on the NYC subway. Then, learn about killer fruit that has been unknowingly terrorizing an indian town for decades.

Annie Garau
Annie is a NYC-based writer.