Hundreds More Stores Pull Enfamil From Shelves

Share
Copy

"The batch of our product used by the child's family tested negative for Cronobacter when it was produced and packaged, and that has been reconfirmed from our batch records following this news," he said.

Cronobacter sakazakii, once known as Enterobacter sakazakii, is a bacteria found in powdered infant formula as well as in plant material and the environment, according to CDC.

The World Health Organization says there have been about 120 documented cases of Cronobacter sakazakii infection worldwide. In 50 to 80 percent of cases, powdered infant formula is the source of Cronobacter illness. There have been several outbreaks of disease in neonatal intensive care units around the world.

Newborns are at highest risk for serious illness from the bacteria, which can cause meningitis and bloodstream infections. The fatality rate in infants is very high.

"It's introduced somehow during the manufacturing process, but they haven't quite figured out how that happens," said Dr. William Schaffner, chairman of the department of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. "Infant formula has all kinds of nutrients, so it's a particularly appropriate environment for these bugs to grow [in]."

According to WHO, the bacteria could be introduced in three ways: through the raw ingredients before production, through contamination after pasteurization and through contamination during preparation of the formula by caregivers.

Referring to published case studies, Schaffner said many of the infants became ill because the formula wasn't prepared properly. Powdered infant formula is not sterile and must be handled carefully to avoid contamination.

"Caregivers sometimes haven't followed the instructions very meticulously," he said.

He said in order to minimize the risk of infection, caregivers should take careful precautions.

"Sterilize bottles, spoons and nipples in boiling water. Infant formula should be freely prepared for each feeding, and remaining milk should be discarded. Water should be boiled and allowed to cool before preparing the formula," Schaffner explained.

In addition to meningitis and bloodstream infections, Cronobacter sakazakii can cause necrotizing enterocolitis, a condition in which the intestinal lining dies off.

Symptoms of necrotizing enterocolitis include bloody stool, diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy and intoleratnce to feeding.

Symptoms of meningitis in infants include high fever, neck and body stiffness, constant crying and seizures.

Additional reporting by ABC News' Brian Hartman and Josh Cohan. Associated Press reports contributed to this report.

Page
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...