01/16/2013 07:27 pm ET Updated Mar 18, 2013

Keona Hinkel, Colorado Baby Survives Rare Disease Known As Infant Botulism

A baby is recovering in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children after contracting a rare disease called infant botulism.

Kari HInkel noticed her 5-month-old daughter Keona Hinkel wasn't sleeping well and had lost her appetite on New Year's Day, but the very next day she suddenly stopped breathing.

Keona was airlifted to the Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children in Denver where it was determined that she was suffering from infant botulism, a rare paralytic illness that can cause death in adults. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, infant botulism is caused by "consuming the spores of the botulinum bacteria, which then grow in the intestines and release toxin."

Keona was treated with Botulism Immune Globulin (also known as BabyBIG) and is recovering though she remains on a breathing machine.

The Hinkels held a press conference on Wednesday to educate parents about infant botulism, which can be contracted from spores in dust and dirt or in foods like honey and some corn syrups, which shouldn't be fed to infants under one year of age.

The Hinkels have set up a Facebook page where donations can be directed to Wells Fargo under the name "Baby Keona Hinkel's Fund."



21 Rare Diseases