Autonomic Nervous System: Infant Botulism


NS is a 5-month-old female infant. When her mother picked her up from day care, the manager informed her that the baby appeared constipated as she had not had a bowel movement all day. The next morning NS was still constipated. Normally a happy, animated baby, the infant lacked facial expression. Furthermore, she had difficulty sucking milk from her bottle. Over the course of the day, NS appeared weaker and began to have trouble breathing. Her mother brought her to the emergency room. The ER physician that examined NS made the following additional observations: excessive drooling, weak cry, loss of head control, and decreased body movement. The doctor asked NS’s mother if the baby had consumed any raw honey. Indeed, a call to the day care facility confirmed that an inexperienced assistant had given honey to the baby. Laboratory tests of blood and stool samples indicated that NS was suffering from botulism. As her condition continued to worsen, NS was mechanically ventilated and given intravenous fluids. After several weeks, the infant made a full recovery. Continue Reading >

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