BISMARCK — The North Dakota Department of Health on Friday, Jan. 22, announced that an infant was recently diagnosed with botulism.
The rare disease affects children younger than 1-year-old and its symptoms, such as decreased movement, progressive weakness and constipation, among others, usually develop between three and 30 days after bacteria spores are consumed.
The bacteria creates a toxin in the intestine which leads to the illness. The toxin causes muscle paralysis, and if left untreated, botulism can lead to respiratory failure and death.
The North Dakota infant is recovering at home after receiving treatment and hospitalization, according to the health department. The last report of infant botulism in North Dakota was in 2018, the department said.
The bacteria spores that lead to infant botulism can be found in soil and dust and in some cases honey. The North Dakota infant had a history of eating honey before they developed the illness but it's unknown if honey was the cause, said state epidemiologist Laura Cronquist.
“Although most infants with botulism likely ingested dust or dirt particles that contained spores, honey can contain botulism spores and is not safe to feed children younger than 12 months,” Cronquist said in a statement.
The health department recommends consulting a health care provider immediately if a child shows any symptoms of infant botulism.