Infant recovers from botulism at Portland hospital - KPTV - FOX 12

Infant recovers from botulism at Portland hospital

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

At only 6 months old, an infant was fighting for his life after he contracted infant botulism.

The disease is so rare that his doctors never suspected the little boy of even having it.

Josiah Ferguson contracted the rare disease in late June and was soon flown to Randall Children's Hospital to be treated.

It's been a long month for little Josiah and his family.

"At that point, when he wasn't breathing, I didn't know if was going to be gone or not," said Shari Freguson, Josiah's mother.

What started out as the flu, quickly turned into something much worse.

"He stopped eating and the next day he stopped lifting his head up and we went to a doctor and they said he had a double ear infection," said Ferguson.

Josiah also became lethargic and weak.

His mom says he was barely breathing and losing color and that's when they decided to rush him to St. Charles Hospital in Redmond.

"He stopped breathing completely by the time we got the hospital," added Ferguson.

The staff at St. Charles realized the severity and decided to fly the little boy out to Randall Children's Hospital in Portland.

"He came into the emergency department with weakness and not being able to breath. He needed a breathing tube right away because he was right on the brink of essentially dying," said Dr. Mark Buchholz, a pediatric intensive care physician at Randall Children's Hospital.

Doctors soon discovered Josiah was suffering from infant botulism.

Infant botulism is a rare disease more common in rural, drier climate areas. The disease is so rare, according to the Center for Disease Control, there were only two cases reported in Oregon in 2011.

"Infants' immune systems aren't very strong and it can replicate in their gut and produce a toxin which paralyzes them," said Buchholz.

Infants' muscles also stop working and they quickly become paralyzed and eventually they stop breathing.

"He's doing so much better. Every day you see more and more improvements. He's almost back to being like a normal baby," said Ferguson.

A day after turning 7 months old, Josiah moved out of the ICU and into his own room at the hospital.

The little boy is on his way to making a full recovery.

Doctors say kids who contract botulism make a full recovery.

Josiah still has a few more months before he makes a full recovery but his mom says he could be going home in about a week.

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