A case of infant botulism with a possible link to infant formula milk powder: evidence for the presence of more than one strain of Clostridium botulinum in clinical specimens and food

J Med Microbiol. 2005 Aug;54(Pt 8):769-776. doi: 10.1099/jmm.0.46000-0.


Infant botulism was confirmed in a 5-month-old female by both isolation of Clostridium botulinum type B and by detection of type B botulinum neurotoxin in rectal washout and faeces. DNA fingerprinting of nine isolates from faeces yielded two different amplified-fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) patterns. C. botulinum was isolated from two of 14 food and drink items from the patient's home: C. botulinum type A was recovered from an opened container of dried rice pudding and C. botulinum type B from opened infant formula milk powder. Ten C. botulinum type B isolates from the opened infant formula yielded four AFLP patterns, two of which were indistinguishable from the clinical isolates. Fifteen unopened foods were tested and C. botulinum type B of a unique AFLP pattern was recovered from one unopened infant formula of the same batch as the opened container. It is suggested that multiple C. botulinum were present in both food and the intestine during infant botulism.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Botulinum Toxins / biosynthesis*
  • Botulinum Toxins / classification
  • Botulinum Toxins / toxicity
  • Botulism / etiology*
  • Botulism / microbiology
  • Clostridium Infections / diagnosis*
  • Clostridium botulinum / classification
  • Clostridium botulinum / genetics
  • Clostridium botulinum / isolation & purification*
  • DNA Fingerprinting / methods*
  • DNA, Bacterial / genetics
  • Food Contamination*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Food / microbiology*
  • Infant Formula
  • Risk
  • Spores, Bacterial


  • DNA, Bacterial
  • Botulinum Toxins