Greece: First case of child botulism

Feb 17, 2009

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A 3-month-old baby was recovering in an intensive-care unit at a hospital in Rio, near Patras, yesterday after becoming one of only a handful of children in Europe to contract infant botulism during the last decade.

In the first reported case of the potentially fatal disease in Greece, a special drug, which is a human-derived botulism antitoxin, was flown in from California on Sunday.

Infant botulism is caused by eating the spores of a bacterium called Clostridium botulinum, or poisons produced by the spores. The most common way of getting botulism is from poorly processed foods that are vacuum sealed.

Scientists from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (KEELPNO) have visited the home of the baby to collect samples of food so they could be sent to a laboratory in England. They are also examining the possibility that the baby was given honey, which is a potential source of spores and should not be given to toddlers under 12 months old.



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