The hazards of honey: infantile botulism
- Jennifer K Smith1,
- Sarah Burns2,
- Steve Cunningham3,
- Julie Freeman2,
- Ailsa McLellan4,
- Kenneth McWilliam4
- 1Department of Paediatrics, RHSC Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
- 2PICU, RHSC Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
- 3Department of Respiratory and Sleep Medicine, RHSC Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
- 4Department of Neurology, RHSC Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
- Correspondence to Jennifer K Smith,
Infantile botulism is a rare cause of neuromuscular weakness resulting from ingestion of Clostridium botulinum—an anaerobic Gram-positive bacillus found universally in soil. The only definite food source known to cause infantile botulism is honey; previously, links to formula milk have been postulated but not definitely sourced. We present an interesting case report of a 2-month-old infant with this rare condition, including the diagnostic difficulties that ensued. A brief overview of the condition follows. This is the first case in the UK in which C botulinum was successfully isolated from both the patient and the suspected source—a jar of honey. The importance of food labelling as a public health message is highlighted.
Competing interests None.
Patient consent Obtained.