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AUSTIN, Texas (CBS) — Health officials are warning against the use of baby pacifiers that contain honey after four babies were treated for botulism in Texas.
Each infant that was sickened was given a honey-containing pacifier that had been purchased in Mexico, according to officials from the Texas Department of State Health Services.
The four cases of botulism illnesses in the unrelated babies happened between mid-August and the end of October. Each infant was hospitalized for life-saving treatment.
Now, DSHS officials are asking all health care providers to look out for cases of infant botulism and to remind parents to not let babies eat honey. The CDC and American Academy of Pediatrics have advised that children under 12 months old should never consume honey.
Botulism is a serious illness caused by a toxin that attacks the body’s nerves and can cause difficulty breathing, paralysis and even death. Honey may contain bacteria that produce the toxin in the intestine of babies that eat it.
Health officials say that once children get to be 12 months old, they’ve developed enough other types of bacteria in their digestive tract to prevent the botulism bacteria from growing and producing toxin.
While honey-filled pacifiers are not common in the U.S., they can be bought at some specialty stores and online.
Anyone looking to learn more about botulism can find information on the DSHS website.