TEXAS – After four babies in Texas were treated for botulism, the Texas State Health Services Department warned parents and other adults not to give babies pacifiers containing honey.
Health officials said the babies were each given nipples containing honey purchased in Mexico.
On Friday, the DSHS state reported four diseases from mid-August to the end of October and caused all four babies to be hospitalized for life-saving treatment.
The babies are unrelated and residents of West Texas, North Texas and South Texas.
Botulism is a serious disease caused by poisons that attack the body's nerves. Toxins can cause breathing difficulties, paralysis, and even death. Honey may contain bacteria that produce poisons in the baby's intestines that consume it, according to health workers.
When children were 12 months old, health officials said they had developed enough other types of bacteria in their digestive tract to prevent botulism bacteria from growing and producing poisons.
On Friday, DSHS also issued a health warning asking health care providers to monitor cases of infant botulism and remind parents not to let babies eat honey. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics have long suggested that children under 12 months should not consume honey.
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According to a press release from the department, pacifiers filled with honey are generally not sold in the United States, but may be available at some specialty stores and online retailers. Although most of the products are not designed to be consumed by honey, some are reported to have small holes, so that a child can eat honey, or the pacifier can accidentally break or leak.
Parents should also avoid pacifiers that contain other food substances, because they can also pose a risk of botulism, says DSHS.
Texas has reported seven to eight cases of infant botulism every year in recent years. Ten confirmed, or suspected, cases were reported in 2018.
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