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Published On: Wed, Jan 16th, 2013

Colorado baby recovering from rare case of infant botulism

One of the biggest risk factors for catching infant botulism is allowing newborns to eat honey.Image/akarlovic via wikimedia commons

One of the biggest risk factors for catching infant botulism is allowing newborns to eat honey.
Image/akarlovic via wikimedia commons

A Littleton, Colorado 5-month old infant contracted the relatively rare, but potentially life threatening disease, infant botulism, according to a CBS Denver report Tuesday. Reports say the baby is recovering from the disease.

According to the report, infant Keona Hinkel was treated Jan. 4 with botulism immune globulin flown in from California after she was airlifted to the Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children.

She is still on a breathing machine but is expected to make a full recovery.

Keona’s family does not know exactly how their the baby got botulism; however, doctors think indirect honey exposure or contaminated soil from a home under renovation may have sickened Keona.

Her mother Kari Hinkel plans on getting the word out to parents about the risks and dangers of this very serious disease.

In the U.S., there are approximately 100 cases of infant botulism reported annually. It is the most common form of botulism. It affects children under 12 months of age, with most cases being in infants 6 weeks to 6 months.

Unlike food borne botulism, where the person ingests preformed toxin in food, the infant ingests the spores of the bacteria in food stuffs like honey. The spores germinate in the intestine where they produce the bacteria which in turn reproduce and release the toxin.

The bacteria can colonize in the infant’s intestines because normal bowel bacteria which would compete with the botulism bacteria aren’t fully established.

Because honey can contain spores of Clostridium botulinum, infants under 1 year old should not be fed honey.

Symptoms in the infant can start as constipation, weakness, poor suck, and a loss of head control. It can range from mild illness to sudden infant death. Disease is typically more severe in infants less than 2 months of age.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 85 cases in 2010 and 84 in 2009.

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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  1. Food poisoning 101: 3 spore-forming bacteria that cause foodborne illness - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] These bacterium, in general, are found in foods grown in the soil like vegetables and spices. They are aloso found in meat. The spores itself are not harmful when eaten, with the exception of C. botulinum spores in the case of infant botulism. […]

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