According to Texas news reports, two newborns living with their families in the same West Texas neighborhood were earlier this year diagnosed with botulism, a rare — and in some cases, fatal — illness caused by a toxin that attacks the body’s nerves.

The families, who live within blocks of each other, learned of the diagnosis in mid-January and early February.

A third newborn in the same neighborhood was previously diagnosed with botulism, which can cause difficulty breathing and muscle paralysis, in August.

Hospitals in Lubbock treated the three infants.

Local and state health officials said the types of botulism were different in each case, eliminating the need to issue an alert to others in the area, a decision which left the three families alarmed about the well-being of neighboring households with newborns.

“This isn’t a one-off, this isn’t the flu,” said Jana Bowman, mom to one of the infants. “Families need to know what it looks like so that they don’t have another baby sitting [at home] for eight hours when they could have been getting care.”

Two common ways infants contract botulism are through the environment and food. The Midland Health Department has not confirmed the cause of the exposure to the toxin that infected the three children, according to a spokesperson. However, the spokesperson ruled out food.

“For many infant botulism cases the specific source is never identified due to the fact that it can be environmental, usually via dust that is stirred up due to windy conditions, construction around the home, or through contact with parents who work outdoors,” the spokesperson said. “Based on our investigation we do not believe the source to be foodborne.”