More Clinical Mimics of Infant Botulism

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Abstract

Objective

To ascertain the actual diagnoses of 76 patients (2005-2015) whose clinical presentations so closely resembled infant botulism that the patients were treated with Human Botulism Immune Globulin Intravenous (BIG-IV; BabyBIG), but whose illnesses subsequently were not laboratory confirmed as infant botulism (“clinical mimics” of infant botulism).

Study design

The California Department of Public Health produces BIG-IV and distributes it nationwide as a public service (ie, not-for-profit) orphan drug to treat patients hospitalized with suspected infant botulism. During the study period, admission records and discharge summaries for all patients treated with BIG-IV but who lacked a laboratory-confirmed diagnosis of infant botulism were collected and abstracted. The patients' discharge diagnoses were identified, categorized, and compared with previously reported clinical mimics categories for 32 patients (1992-2005).

Results

From 2005 to 2015, 76 clinical mimic illnesses were identified. These illnesses were distributed into the 5 categories previously reported of (1) probable infant botulism lacking confirmatory testing (26.3%); (2) spinal muscular atrophy (19.7%); (3) miscellaneous (15.8%); (4) metabolic disorders (11.8%); and (5) other infectious diseases (10.6%). Of the 76 clinical mimic illnesses, 15.8% had no alternate diagnosis established and were therefore categorized as undetermined.

Conclusions

Over the 23 years 1992-2015, patients presenting with illnesses so clinically similar to infant botulism that they were treated with BIG-IV had actual diagnoses that were distributed into 5 main categories. These categories and their individual components constitute a working bedside differential diagnosis of infant botulism.

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