Third Infant Cronobacter
December 30, 2011 by staff
Third Infant Cronobacter, An Oklahoma infant is the third Midwestern child to be sickened by a rare Cronobacter sakazakii infection in recent weeks. Federal officials said today they have not found anything to link the cases, one of which was fatal.
The bacteria, which can cause meningitis-like symptoms in newborns, is “ubiquitous in the environment,” says Barbara Reynolds, a spokeswoman with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.
The infection killed 10-day-old Avery Cornett of Lebanon, Mo., on Dec. 18. She was to be buried today, The Lebanon Daily Record says.
After that case was reported, Illinois officials said an infant in that state, who was visiting Missouri, was sickened by the bacteria in early December but recovered after being treated in a Missouri hospital.
Information about a third case, a Tulsa County, Okla., infant who also got sick in early December but recovered, came out Wednesday, Reynolds says.
There have been previous outbreaks of the disease linked to contaminated infant formula and the possible link caused some chains to pull Enfamil Newborn powder, which Cornett had been fed. But tests have found no contamination of the formula, the manufacturer, Mead Johnson Nutrition, said in a news release.
“The investigation means that public health officials in each a state are gathering information about each infant, including what they ate and where they had been. The bacteria that made them sick are going to be compared in a CDC laboratory to see how genetically similar they are – the initial results may be available by the end of next week at the soonest. We are also alerting public health officials around the country to look for other cases of Cronobacter infection. If we hear about more, those will be investigated as well,” says Robert Tauxe, deputy director of CDC’s Division of Foodborne, Waterborne and Environmental Diseases.
“It is not established that infant formula was the source of either infection. It appears that each infant was on several formulas, those details are part of the ongoing investigation in each state,” he says.
CDC hears about six cases of cronobacter sakazakii each year, but because it is not a reportable disease there are no exact figures.
This year, the CDC has received reports of 10 cases. Information on where those cases occurred and the ages of the victims was not available late Wednesday.
“This does not appear to be a cluster,” Reynolds says. “At this point in the investigation, there’s nothing that indicates there’s a link in the cases.”
Samples of infant formula are being collected and tested by state and CDC labs, Tauxe says. These include packages that are already open, leftover formula and environmental samples. The Food and Drug Administration is also testing the unopened packages of formula and looking into where the formulas were manufactured, he says. Some of the tests can take up to a month so immediate answers are not available, Tauxe said.
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