January 2014

Two British babies have contracted a rare life-threatening disease triggered by eating honey.

The boys, aged three months and five months, had to be put on life-support machines suffering from infant botulism.

Both had been feeding badly and showed typical symptoms – a floppy head, drooping eyelids and constipation. They were cured only after medication costing £50,000 a dose was flown in from America.

The incidents, confirmed last week, have prompted public health chiefs to warn that infants under one should not be given honey.

The younger boy had eaten honey, while the older one had been given a homeopathic treatment that may have contained honey, which can carry the potentially deadly bacteria. The identities of the babies treated and the hospitals involved have not been disclosed.

But according to the latest health protection report from Public Health England, the five-month-old was diagnosed just before Christmas in central or southern England.

He may still be in hospital because recovery can sometimes take six months. He had taken the homeopathic remedy before becoming ill, though tests on it showed no trace of botulism.

The three-month-old was treated at a children’s hospital in northern England and has recovered.

His mother admitted giving him honey at home, though tests on what was left in the jar also failed to detect the botulism bacteria.

Webbers Food is recalling “Hausmacher” liver pâté from the marketplace because it may permit the growth of Clostridium botulinum. Consumers should not consume the recalled product described below. The following product has been sold in glass jars with no label only from November 13, 2013 to December 5, 2013, inclusively, at the following locations in Nova Scotia:

• Hammonds Plains Farmers’ Market, Hammonds Plains, Nova Scotia

• Lunenburg Farmers’ Market, Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

Food contaminated with Clostridium botulinum toxin may not look or smell spoiled but can still make you sick. Symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, fatigue, dizziness, blurred or double vision, dry mouth, respiratory failure and paralysis. In severe cases of illness, people may die.