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Rare infant botulism hits 6-month-old boy hard

Rare infant botulism hits 6-month-old boy hard

PORTLAND, Ore. - A six-month-old baby is recovering from a rare botulism infection.

Josiah Ferguson of Redmond, Ore., is at Legacy Emanuel's Randall Children's Hospital. He was flown from Medford to Portland in late June after he became paralyzed and started turning blue.

Prior to that, the family had come down with a cold. The baby had also contracted the flu and pink eye, and then later got a double ear infection. Josiah stopped nursing at one point and became so lethargic that the family rushed him to a hospital.

"He didn't hardly want to open his eyes any more and his breathing started sounding a little funny," the boy's mother, Shari Ferguson, said.

Josiah was not breathing when they got the hospital. Doctors rushed to get the baby breathing again and were able to stabilize him.

Specialists eventually diagnosed the baby with infant botulism. It's a disease you get from ingesting spores that typically grow in the dirt. The spores create bacteria that live in your intestines and the bacteria produce a toxin that can paralyze your body, including your lungs. It's very rare, but treatable.

Dr. James Lindsay, who works in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) of the Randall Children's Hospital, said he had never seen a baby come down with botulism so quickly.

Josiah is now breathing on his own and will soon be moved from PICU to a regular room. He is now moving his hands, eyes, face, legs and hips. He will, however, require physical therapy and will need help with feeding.

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