Rare Powdered Baby Formula Associated Illness Reported in Two Infants
According to the New Mexico Department of Health, two infants have developed a rare bloodstream and central nervous system infection known as Enterobacter sakazakii, which is associated with the use of powdered baby formula. One of the infants has died from the infection and the other remains hospitalized.
E. sakazakii is a harmful bacterium that can cause an invasive infection, especially in newborn infants, premature babies or those with weak immune systems. If it infects the bloodstream, it can cause meningitis and lead to a potentially life-threatening inflammation of the intestines.
There have only been about 120 cases of the rare infection recorded worldwide, and it is associated with a death rate between 40% and 80%.
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According to a December 1, 2008, statement by the New Mexico Department of Health, one baby girl from Lea County, New Mexico has been hospitalized with E. sakazakii and a baby boy from Otero County, New Mexico has died from the infection. Although the infants had different strains of the bacteria, the discovery of the two cases so close together has raised concerns.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has previously associated the rare illness with the use of infant formula, and both infants were fed powdered formula along with other foods.
The New Mexico Department of Health has warned parents to be cautious about using powdered baby formula while the investigation into the cause of the infections is in progress. They have recommended that breastfeeding is the best option, if possible, and a doctor should be consulted before trying a new formula or changing an existing one.
The New Mexico Department of Health is reminding parents that baby formula should be prepared for consumption in small amounts, and that cleanliness and proper hygiene during preparation should be maintained. Any unused formula should be discarded within two hours of preparation, and leftover formula after a feeding should be thrown away within one hour. Prepared formula stored in a refrigerator should be used within 24 hours.
Symptoms of E. sakazakii infection could include unstable body temperature, jaundice, irritability, poor feeding response and grunting respiration. Infants surviving the infection may experience infection of the central nervous system and neurological impairment.
This latest baby formula scare follows news last week that trace amounts of the industrial chemical melamine were discovered in samples of some formula manufactured in the United States. High levels of melamine which contaminated baby formula in China this year, has been associated with six deaths and over 294,000 illnesses according to the latest figures released.
The FDA has indicates that the trace levels of melamine found in U.S. baby formula remains safe for infants, and they have stressed that parents should not stop using powdered formula manufactured in the United States.
There is no indication that the cases of E. sakazakii infection in New Mexico is in any way connected with melamine contaminated formula.
JackieSparkleDecember 14, 2008 at 12:03 pm
It's both. E. skazakii has been found in between 4% and 14% of samples of powdered formula milk tested. If the formula is prepared correctly, ie with boiling water, cooled immediately under a running tap and used asap, there is little risk. It needs to be remembered that formula is not sterile and it is very important to prepare it safely. http://www.healthpromotionagency.org.uk/Resources/nutri[Show More]It's both. E. skazakii has been found in between 4% and 14% of samples of powdered formula milk tested. If the formula is prepared correctly, ie with boiling water, cooled immediately under a running tap and used asap, there is little risk. It needs to be remembered that formula is not sterile and it is very important to prepare it safely. http://www.healthpromotionagency.org.uk/Resources/nutrition/pdfs/bottlefeed2006.pdf
sandra V.December 2, 2008 at 4:50 pm
I'm confused! Is the bacteria in the formula or is it the way the parents handled the formula.
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