Infant Botulism Case Confirmed in East Texas
An extremely rare and terrifying condition that only affects infants has been confirmed in East Texas. KLTV is reporting that doctors at the Children's hospital in Dallas have confirmed that Elizabeth Ackley's 4-month old baby Charlie was suffering from Infant Botulism.
Elizabeth's first sign was when she noticed that Charlie wasn't eating as well as he should be. Then he started sleeping much more than usual, and was lethargic in the small amount of time he was awake. After doctors in Jacksonville couldn't figure out what was wrong, the choice was made to head to Dallas.
The condition is so rare, only 100 babies a year contract it - and the only supply of the only treatment is in California. Thankfully, it was flown out immediately and given to baby Charlie just in time. He has made a full recovery.
If you are a parent, you likely remember your doctor telling you not to give your newborn honey before their first birthday. That's because honey could contain spores of Clostridium botulinum, the bacteria responsible for this terrible condition. Older children and adults have the ability to move the spores through the digestive system well before any harm is caused, but infants do not. The bacteria reproduce in the intestines and produce a toxin that interferes with the infants ability to move, eat, and in the most extreme cases - breathe.
Unfortunately, honey is not the only way this illness can be contracted. Since doctors have not yet determined where baby Charlie came into contact with the spores, they have to also consider that they were airborne and the child may have simply breathed them in. This is called Environmental Infant Botulism, and in the rarest cases infants can contract this simply from breathing the outside air.
The good news is that this condition is completely treatable, and (in most cases) a 100% recovery is expected with proper treatment. That's why parents need to be aware of the warning signs.
Kidshealth.org says that infants under the age of 1 at risk, but the highest danger is for kids between 3 weeks and 6 months old. The symptoms usually start to show within 3 to 30 days after the spores are ingested. Be on the lookout for the following signs:
- flat facial expression
- poor feeding (weak sucking)
- weak cry
- decreased movement
- trouble swallowing with excessive drooling
- muscle weakness
- breathing problems
If you suspect your child may be suffering from this dangerous condition, see your doctor right away.