What Parents Need to Know About Cronobacter Bacteria in Infant Formula

By Cara Murez HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, October 26, 2022 (HealthDay News)

Cronobacter sakazakii made headlines as the cause of childhood infections and the reason for a U.S. infant formula recall and resulting shortage this year.

Infections are rare and the bacteria are harmless to most people. Yet it can be dangerous, even deadly, for infants, especially those who are less than 2 months old, are premature, are immunocompromised, or have low birth weight.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration offers some tips for staying safe from this germ, which can live on most surfaces and easily survive in dry foods and beverages, such as starches, herbal teas, and drinks. infant formula powder. Bacteria can also live on bottles and enter homes and factories on someone’s hands or the soles of shoes.

While liquid formulas undergo some sterilization treatment during production, powders do not, according to the FDA.

So, one way to avoid bacteria is to use ready-to-feed liquid infant formula, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Preventionfor high-risk infants.

Another is to prepare powdered formula with water that is at least 158 ​​degrees Fahrenheit, then allow it to cool before feeding an infant.

This option is not possible for some metabolic and specialty products, which warn against heating above 100 degrees F as it may cause loss of vitamins and nutrients.

Other measures to protect infants against Cronobacter include careful cleaning, sanitizing and storage of bottles and breast pump parts.

Wash hands with soap and water, especially before preparing bottles and feeding. Caregivers can also use alcoholhand sanitizer based on at least 60% alcoholAccording to the CDC.

Formula lids or spoons should not be placed on contaminated surfaces such as counters or sinks.

Cronobacter sakazakii is part of a large family of common bacteria, making it difficult to identify the source. Only Minnesota requires cases to be reported to state public health authorities, leaving many US cases unreported.

Symptoms of infection in infants may include fever, poor diet, excessive crying and/or very low energy levels. Some infants may also have seizures.

Parents seeing any of these symptoms in their baby should seek medical attention immediately.

More information

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention more on Cronobacter infection.

SOURCE: US Food and Drug Administration, press release, October 20, 2022

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