DENVER (CBS4) – A Colorado baby is recovering from a rare disease. The 5-month-old has infant botulism, which can be life threatening.

The good news is the Keona Hinkel is getting better every day, although she is still on a breathing machine.

The baby’s uncle contacted CBS4 last week. He said that back on Jan. 1 she wasn’t eating as normal and she seemed very tired. Her mother, Kari Hinkel, took Keona to the pediatrician. He sent them to the emergency room. There Keona stopped breathing, was incubated and then airlifted to the Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children.

A pediatric neurologist was the first to suspect infant botulism, a very rare but very serious disease. The treatment, botulism immune globulin, had to be flown in from California.

Keona has been improving since she started the medication on Jan. 4. She is still on a breathing machine but is expected to make a full recovery.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 85 cases in 2010 and 84 in 2009.

On Wednesday, Keona’s mother will get the word out that the disease comes from a bacteria. The family wants people to know that Keona could have gotten sick from indirect contact with honey or possibly exposure to dirt and dust at a home under renovation. Both may contain the bacteria. They want parents to be aware of the danger and never feed infants under a year honey or corn syrup.

LINK: Keona’s Facebook Page

Make donations at or give at a Wells Fargo Bank under the name of Keona Hinkel.


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