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Dr. Singh
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Category: Health
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Experience:  MBBS. General Practitioner, experienced in hospital care and primary care.
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Infant botulism and honey

Resolved Question:

Our 7 week old baby girl was fed small amounts of honey 6-7 times by a well intending grandmother via the tip of a pacifier over the last few days when she wouldn't settle (very colicky baby) On finding out we stopped it immediately however I know this can be very dangerous for young babies and can cause botulism. Now we don't know what to do. She has had no honey for 36 hours now and seems normal at the moment. She has had a small bowl movement 2 hours back and before that about 12 hours she had a major bowel movement (after a flight) 1. What are the initial symptoms that we would notice and 2- is it worth taking to a doc now for tests- is there anything they can give her or are tests even possible so early? we are very worried, and we are travelling away from home
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  Dr. Singh replied 4 years ago.
Hi,
Honey should be avoided in infants due to the risk of Infant Botulism caused by bacteria contaminated honey. This is a rare disease which is becoming rarer due to proper prevention, education and better food processing techniques. If your baby have been fed honey, you need to keep her under close observation for next few weeks. The symptoms of Botulism can appear anywhere from 3 to 30 days after exposure to bacterial spores. Common symptoms include constipation, poor sucking, weak cry, weakness, tiredness etc. Because the disease is so rare, tests are generally not done after any such incidence when there are no symptoms. If any symptoms appear, you should take her to her doctor and stool tests can be done to test for infection.
Regards.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi. Thanks.been away from computer

 

I had asked seperately whilst waiting for a reply this morning from Just answer and been told infant botulism symptoms usually appears 8-36 hours after ingestion/exposure or a early as 4 hours or as late as 10 days. Exposure via a wound can take longer. I then checked internet and most resources are concurrent with this. The 3-30 days is also stated as well in a few cases, in line with what you say. I'm so frustrated that there seems to be such contradictory information on this. I know you are only stating what you know I just dont understand how NHS, WHO, Mayo Clinic and other reputable resources completely contradict each other (some say the same as you). If the 3-30 day opinion in true, do you believe the risk of the disease decreases during this time?

Expert:  Valarie replied 4 years ago.

Hello.

 

Dr. Singh has been offline for some time. Would you like to wait for him, or would you rather proceed now?

Expert:  Dr. Singh replied 4 years ago.
Various sources that you've checked like Mayoclinic, NIH etc are all very reliable, and they are not really contradicting each other. The incubation period for any infection can greatly vary from person to person due to several factors like age, immune status, strain of the bacteria, any other associated illness etc. The risk of any bacterial infection decreases considerably after the first 10 days of exposure.
Regards.
Dr. Singh, Doctor
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 6496
Experience: MBBS. General Practitioner, experienced in hospital care and primary care.
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Dr. Singh
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MBBS. General Practitioner, experienced in hospital care and primary care.