Health investigates a case of possible botulism in a four-month-old baby

Image of the Maternal and Child Hospital of Gran Canaria. / Juan Carlos Alonso

She is admitted to the Maternal and Child University Hospital of the Canary Islands, in Gran Canaria, where the relevant diagnostic tests are being carried out.

CANARY ISLANDS7 The Gran Canarian palms

The direction
Public Health investigates a possible case of infant botulism detected in the Canary Islands in a baby of four months, as reported by the Ministry of Health of the Canarian Government through a note.

to the little one,
admitted to the intensive care unit of the Maternal and Child Hospital of the Canary Islands, in Gran Canaria, the pertinent study is being carried out to rule out infant botulism and the samples will be sent to the National Center for Microbiology, in Madrid, for study.

infant botulism is a neurological disorder, caused by the release of toxins in vivo from the germination and multiplication of spores of 'Clostridium botulinum' in the infant's intestine.

Although it almost exclusively affects children under one year of age, it can also appear in older children and adults with alterations in the intestinal anatomy and microflora.

The two potential sources of infection recognized in the scientific literature are the consumption of honey and dust from contaminated soil.

This case, as indicated by the protocols, will be notified to the Ministry of Health and the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, they pointed out from Health.

For his part, the head of Epidemiology of the Canarian Health Service, Álvaro Torres, indicated that, at the moment, it is only a
suspected case of botulism. “Several diseases can occur with the same clinical picture, so we have to rule out each and every one of them.
Samples have been collected and shipped of the foods involved, which is the main route of entry for these diseases, and also samples from the sick person to Madrid so that they can
rule out or not the presence of botulism», he clarified.

Regarding the origin of this disease, Torres pointed out that infant botulism is acquired “through the ingestion of botulinum toxin. This means that the microorganism Clostridium botulinum, which is a first cousin of the 'Clostridium tetani' that produces tetanus, can be in the food, producing extremely strong forms of resistance such as spores, which are in many places.
We can acquire through food the microorganism, the spore or the toxin -which is the most frequent-. is usually in
canned food, unopened. It is usually the most frequent”, he stressed about the origin of this disease without precedent in recent decades in the Canary Islands.

“Fortunately, botulism is a very rare disease. In the Canary Islands, none of the suspicions have been confirmed », he explains about the epidemiological surveillance that is carried out on those who present symptoms compatible with this disease that has not been confirmed.
no case in the Canary Islands, at least in the last two decades.

In this case, it was the
pediatric services of Fuerteventura and the Insular Maternal Hospital those who reported the suspicion to the Canarian Epidemiological Surveillance Network. “What we have done has been to say what samples must be taken, both from the patient and her environment, and we have sealed them to send them to the reference laboratories in Madrid,” adds the epidemiologist who believes that the results will take several days to arrive. get.

Meanwhile, given the possibility that the symptoms finally correspond to this disease, the most serious of which it could have,
the girl is being administered a botulinum antitoxin serum. In this way, in the worst case, its favorable evolution will be guaranteed.

“It is a unique case and it evolves well. There is no reason for the alert”

The head of Epidemiology of the General Directorate of Public Health of the Government of the Canary Islands, Álvaro Torres, yesterday sent a message of calm about the possible case of botulism detected in Fuerteventura. “There is no reason for the alert. It is a very unique case, which is undergoing treatment and is progressing in a positive way”, he said. The expert specified that, fortunately, there is a very specific treatment to deal with botulism that is being administered, preventively, to the affected girl. “The pediatricians were on the lookout. They saw the symptoms and, among the possible causes, they said: it could be botulism », he added.

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