The diagnosis usually revolves around confirming the signs and symptoms of infant botulism; however, since the clinical manifestations can be confused with other conditions, such as hypothyroidism, congenital muscular dystrophy, sepsis, and benign congenital hypotonia, the doctor will most likely order a stool test.
Finding the toxin or the bacteria in the stool establishes the diagnosis. But since results may take some time, the doctor usually begins treatment as soon as there is suspicion. Waiting can be dangerous.
Treatment for Infant Botulism
Babies who present with the signs and symptoms of infant botulism need hospitalization and even intensive unit care. They might also need mechanical ventilation for their breathing difficulties.
Doctors use an antitoxin called human botulism immunoglobulin intravenous (BIGIV) to treat infant botulism. Reports indicate that babies who receive BIGIV sooner require a shorter hospital stay and recover quicker.
Although the pathogen is a bacteria, experts say antibiotic therapy does not seem to help the baby improve their condition. The doctor may still prescribe them, however, if the child develops another infection, such as pneumonia.
Finally, since weak suckling and poor feeding are also signs and symptoms of infant botulism, the baby may need tube feedings, too.