16-Year-Old Boy Sickened with Botulism Linked to Gas Station Nacho Cheese

CLARKSBURG -- "We're wishing him to get better and come back to us real quickly," said Delta High School Principal Laura Uslan.

A message from the student body to classmate, 16-year-old Johnny Villasenor.

The new sophomore is the youngest among those hospitalized with botulism after eating nacho cheese from a gas station in Walnut Grove.

"He was just doing what a normal kid does, go to the gas station, get a snack. He's a growing boy," she said.

Uslan said she visited Johnny at Oakland Children's Hospital.

"He was able to squeeze my hand, yes and no. And was able to carry on a conversation with him that way," she said.

FOX40 has beenĀ told Johnny is making progress since his hospitalization. He was taken off a ventilator and moved from the ICU into a regular room.

"It's been a real worry for all of us. He's been very, very ill for over a month," she said.

The California Department of Public Health released a statement claiming that the cheese sauce tested positive for botulism. But the attorney representing the teen and other victims said the contamination isn't a result of the production of the cheese, rather the storage and dispensing of it at the Valley Oak Food and Fuel Station.

Back at Delta High, students, teachers and Principal Uslan are hoping Johnny continues to get better, but they know the road to recovery will be tough.

"People have been talking, students have been talking and praying, and I saw them in the hall writing cards to him today," Uslan said.

"There's just a lot of people he's connected with already as a first-year student with us that are worried about him, sending a lot of prayer and love," she said.