Sulphur Teen Survives Rare Disease


2-10-06- A Murray County family is happy to have their daughter home with them Friday after she was struck with a rare disease. Experts say you are twice as likely to win the Powerball jackpot than to catch what 14-year old Leah Claggett did.

Last summer, Leah was stricken with food borne botulism. She contracted it from eating home-canned stew at a relative’s home. The can was not sealed properly, and the toxin made it into her body leaving her unable to open her eyes, paralyzed, and unable to speak. Leah was able to hear everyone around her and could only communicate by moving her big toe. She would have to answer a series of questions by moving her toe once for yes and twice for no. In November Leah was able to communicate normally, but was still hospitalized until this past week.

She returned to school this week, going only three hours a day and when she was interviewed by First News she told us she could not have made it through this ordeal if were not for her incredible support system. Leah is a freshman at Sulphur High School and wants to study to become a registered nurse after graduation.

Only 14 cases of food borne botulism were reported in the Unites States in 2004. The botulism toxin is the same one used in the cosmetic treatment botox.


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