PORTLAND -- A baby from Redmond, Ore. is recovering at a Portland hospital from an extremely rare case of infant botulism.
Dr. James Lindsay said 6-month-old Josiah Ferguson is only the second baby he has treated for that disease that in his 16 years at Randall Children’s Hospital at Legacy Emanuel. He also said he has never seen a baby develop the disease as quickly as Josiah.
The boy's family said he caught a cold from other family members one weekend in June and then quickly contracted pinkeye and influenza, according to hospital spokeswoman Maegan Vidal. By the following Monday he was lethargic and had stopped nursing.
"By Tuesday morning he stopped holding up his head and had a double ear infection and on Tuesday night his breathing was rumbly and cry was so weak his mother could barely hear him," Vidal said. "He also didn’t want to open his eyes and wasn’t moving his arms, legs or head much.
His mother rushed him to St. Charles Hospital in Redmond and he had stopped breathing and turned blue by the time they arrived. He was placed on a ventilator and flown to Randall Children's Hospital.
Dr. Lindsay confirmed that Josiah had infant botulism, a rare disease that was reported only twice in Oregon in 2010 and once in 2011. He did not say exactly how the boy came in contact with the toxin, but it's usually ingested from spores in dirt.
The other sicknesses likely made it harder for his body to fight of the infection.
One telltale sign that Josiah had infant botulism was that he had flu symptoms, but was not constipated, Lindsay said. The boy also had limited head control because of paralysis caused by the disease.
Josiah was put on a ventilator and cared for in the pediatric intensive care unit.
Wednesday Vidal announced that Josiah had started breathing on his own and was moving out of PICU. "He’s now moving his hands, eyes, face, legs and hips," she said, "and he's smiley again."
Josiah will still have to go through a long rehabilitation process, including feeding, occupational and physical therapies, but he's expected to make a full recovery.