The hazards of honey: infantile botulism

Jennifer K Smith, Sarah Burns, Steve Cunningham, Julie Freeman, Ailsa McLellan, Kenneth McWilliam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBMJ Case Reports
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • Botulism
  • Clostridium botulinum type A
  • Continuous Positive Airway Pressure
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Honey
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases


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