Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Infant Botulism Treatment

Treatment for botulism varies with the type of botulism. Treatment must be initiated as soon as possible, in order to increase the chance of survival and reduce the stay in the hospital. Hospitalization may last from 10 days to 4 weeks. After hospitalization, additional therapy may be needed for muscle weakness, which may remain for months.

Treatment for infant botulism includes:

Treatment for food-bourne botulism includes:
  • Botulism antitoxin:
    • Neutralizes the toxin
    • Botulinum antitoxin, heptavalent (HBAT)
  • Enemas for botulism:
    • To remove toxin from the intestines

Treatment for wound botulism includes:

As botulism worsens, the respiratory muscles become weak and a person may become unable to breathe.

General treatment those with botulism who develop respiratory failure include:

Infant Botulism Questions For Doctor

The following are some important questions to ask before and after the treatment of botulism.

Questions to ask before treatment:

  • What are my treatment options?
  • What are the risks associated with treatment?
  • Do I need to stay in the hospital?
    • How long will I be in the hospital?
  • Am I contagious?
    • For how long?
  • What are the complications I should watch for?
  • How long will I be on medication?
  • What are the potential side effects of my medication?
  • Does my medication interact with nonprescription medicines or supplements?
  • Should I take my medication with food?

Questions to ask after treatment:
  • Do I need to change my diet?
  • Are there any medications or supplements I should avoid?
  • When can I resume my normal activities?
  • When can I return to work?
  • What else can I do to reduce my risk for having this problem again?
  • How often will I need to see my doctor for checkups?
  • What local support and other resources are available?

Infant Botulism Specialist

Physicians from the following specialties evaluate and treat botulism:

Continue to Infant Botulism Warning Signs

Last Updated: May 13, 2011 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Infant Botulism References
  1. Cherington M. Botulism: update and review. Semin Neurol. 2004 Jun;24(2):155-63. [15257512]
  2. Hatheway CL: Botulism: the present status of the disease. Curr Top Microbiol Immunol 1995; 195: 55-75. [8542759]
  3. Robinson RF, Nahata MC. Management of botulism. Ann Pharmacother. 2003 Jan;37(1):127-31. [12503947]
  4. Shapiro RL, Hatheway C, Swerdlow DL: Botulism in the United States: a clinical and epidemiologic review. Ann Intern Med 1998 Aug 1; 129(3): 221-8. [9696731]
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