7 Investigates: Health officials confirm three cases of infant botulism in East Texas

Two cases in Troup, one in Mineola, possible fourth in Tyler
East Texas News at 6.
Updated: Jul. 15, 2019 at 6:36 PM CDT
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TYLER, TEXAS (KLTV) - Health officials have now confirmed three cases of infant botulism in East Texas, and a possible fourth case is under investigation.

“We are certainly curious about where this originated from,” said Russell Hopkins, with Northeast Texas Public Health District.

According to Hopkins, two cases occurred in Troup, one in Mineola, and they are expecting a fourth case to be confirmed in Tyler.

“We’re not really sure what the commonality is, because they are kind of spread out,” Hopkins said. “You do have two cases in one town, which is unusual. But it doesn’t mean they’re related.”

We first reported on one of these cases back in June when Troup resident Elizabeth Ackley’s son was treated for the life-threatening condition.

“The nurse looked at me and said, 'had you waited another 24 hours, we would have been critical,” Ackley said.

Health officials now confirm this was not the only case of infant botulism in East Texas.

“It’s generally related to dust that gets kicked up in the air and is then ingested by the infant,” Hopkins said.

“It is terrifying," Ackley said. "It really is. Especially when you have a normal, healthy baby one day and then the next morning, they’re just not acting right.”

Warning signs of infant botulism include constipation, decreased movement, poor feeding, and at times, a weak cry.

"It is a life-threatening emergency and can end in death,” Hopkins said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, bacteria that cause infant botulism can be found in dust and dirt, even after cleaning. Infants are more susceptible to complications because their digestive tracts are not developed enough to fight off the bacteria which then begins producing toxins.

Botulism is not contagious, according to the CDC.

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Health officials in East Texas investigate 3 confirmed cases of infant botulism

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