A bacteria germ that produces a substance in the body (called a toxin) causes infant botulism. This toxin affects the place where the ends of nerves and muscles meet. This results in significant floppiness and weakness in the infant. After an infant eats the spores of this bacteria, the disease usually presents within hours to one week of the exposure. The disease starts as constipation, followed quickly by floppiness and weakness with a weak cry, poor feeding, and weakness of facial muscles. It frequently causes the infant to have an unusual breathing pattern (apnea), which often requires putting infants on a ventilator to help them breathe. Identifying the toxin in the stool makes the diagnosis. This nerve damage can last weeks to months.
Although infant botulism is very rare as perfect conditions that allow the bacteria germ to produce this toxin are necessary, it is still wise to never give honey to an infant.