Infant botulism

J Perinatol. 2007 Mar;27(3):175-80. doi: 10.1038/


Infant botulism results from the absorption of heat-labile neurotoxin produced in situ by ingested Clostridium botulinum. Honey and environmental exposure are the main sources of acquisition of the organism. Clinical manifestations are owing to progressive neuromuscular blockade, initially of muscles innervated by cranial nerves and later of the trunk, extremities and diaphragm. Presynaptic autonomic nerves are also affected. The diagnosis is made on clinical grounds and is confirmed by recovery of the organism or by detection of toxin in the stool. Management includes meticulous supportive intensive care that may include mechanical ventilation and administration of human botulinum immunoglobulin in severe cases.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Botulism / diagnosis*
  • Botulism / epidemiology
  • Botulism / etiology
  • Botulism / prevention & control
  • Botulism / therapy*
  • Breast Feeding
  • Clostridium botulinum / isolation & purification
  • Clostridium botulinum / physiology
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Formula
  • Nutritional Support
  • Risk Factors
  • Seasons
  • Spores, Fungal