Infant botulism

Definition of Infant botulism

Infant botulism is a potentially life-threatening disease in which the bacteria grows within the baby’s gastrointestinal tract.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

is a spore-forming organism that is common in nature. The spores may be found in soil and certain foods (such as honey and some corn syrups).

Signs and tests

The doctor will perform a physical exam. The doctor may note decreased muscle tone, a missing or decreased gag reflex, missing or decreased deep tendon reflexes, and eyelid drooping.

Treatment

Botulism immune globulin is the main treatment for this condition. Infants that receive this treatment have shorter hospital stays and less severe illness.

Expectations (prognosis)

Full recovery is expected with early recognition and supportive treatment. Death or permanent disability may result in complicated cases.

Review

Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 8/2/2009

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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