Peoria family warning others after 1-year-old son diagnosed with infant botulism

Posted at 3:25 PM, Aug 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-17 23:35:49-04

A Peoria family is hoping to educate others after a young boy was diagnosed with a potentially life-threatening disease.

One-year-old Cole Hansberger was diagnosed with infant botulism on Aug. 5 after being admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit at Banner Thunderbird Medical Center.

According to health officials, infants contract the disease from ingestion of botulinum spores from the environment and in some cases, it can be transferred through food like raw honey.

However, Cole is believed to have contracted the disease through dust and soil near his Peoria home, a Banner Thunderbird spokesperson said.

Infants are susceptible to infant botulism during the first year of their life, with more than 90 percent of cases occurring infants younger than six months old. With Cole already being 12 months old, his case is especially rare, health officials said.

His parents first realized something was wrong after seeing that Cole was having difficulties holding up his head and becoming increasingly lethargic. When his symptoms worsened, the couple sought professional help.

Cole is now on a ventilator and clinicians are working with him to provide therapy and medication. However, his parents are hoping to warn others about the rare disease so that the signs are recognized early on.

Symptoms of infant botulism include:

  • Constipation
  • Weakness
  • Feeding difficulties
  • Dropping
  • Anorexia
  • Irritability
  • Weak cry

If you would like to contribute to Cole's recovery click here.