About Botulism Blog
Honey and Botulism – Baby Risk
The boys, aged three months and five months, had to be put on life-support machines suffering from infant botulism.
Both had been feeding badly and showed typical symptoms – a floppy head, drooping eyelids and constipation. They were cured only after medication costing £50,000 a dose was flown in from America.
The incidents, confirmed last week, have prompted public health chiefs to warn that infants under one should not be given honey.
The younger boy had eaten honey, while the older one had been given a homeopathic treatment that may have contained honey, which can carry the potentially deadly bacteria. The identities of the babies treated and the hospitals involved have not been disclosed.
But according to the latest health protection report from Public Health England, the five-month-old was diagnosed just before Christmas in central or southern England.
He may still be in hospital because recovery can sometimes take six months. He had taken the homeopathic remedy before becoming ill, though tests on it showed no trace of botulism.
The three-month-old was treated at a children’s hospital in northern England and has recovered.
His mother admitted giving him honey at home, though tests on what was left in the jar also failed to detect the botulism bacteria.