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Colo. Parents Warn Others about Infant Botulism

babyDENVER (AP) — The parents of a 5-month-old Colorado baby recovering from botulism are warning others about the fairly rare and potentially fatal disease.

Keona Hinkel has been on a breathing machine at the Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children for two weeks, but doctors said Wednesday that she’s improving.

Botulism is caused by bacteria that grow inside a baby’s gastrointestinal tract. They can come from spores in contaminated soil or honey or having infrequent bowel movements.

Doctors think indirect honey exposure or contaminated soil from a home under renovation may have sickened Keona.

She wasn’t fed honey but mother Kari Hinkel said that she cooked with honey. It’s possible she touched her daughter with it or it got on her pacifier. The immune systems of babies under a year old can’t fight spores in honey.