Infant botulism is an uncommon, bacterial form of food poisoning affecting infants less than 1 year old. The condition responsible is the Clostridium botulinum bacteria.
It is important to note that the bacteria releases toxin that triggers the symptoms. If the condition is diagnosed early along with proper treatment, the outlook is good but can be dangerous if left untreated.
The typical risk factors linked with infant botulism include:
- Feeding canned or tinned food to infants
- Contaminated honey
- Playing in contaminated soil
- Contaminated corn syrup
What are the indications?
Generally, the indications of infant botulism might include the following:
- Weak cry and irritability
- Weak, floppy infant and lethargy due to poor muscle tone
- Poor feeding
- Drooping eyelids
- Paralysis that spreads downwards
It is important to note that infant botulism can be treated with the following measures:
- Administration of botulism immune globulin which has been the mainstay of the treatment
- Human-derived botulinum antitoxin can also be given to lessen the effect of the botulism toxin.
Some of the supportive measures that can help with the recovery typically include:
- Proper nutrition
- Always keep the airways clear
- Monitor for any respiratory issues which might require prompt breathing support
There are some preventive measures that can lower the risk for infant botulism. It is important to note that corn syrup and honey are potential sources of bacteria and should not be given to infants less than a year old.
Always observe proper cleanliness and hygiene particularly during the feeding of babies.