A type of bacteria that is known to cause fatal meningitis and sepsis in young infants has been attributed to contaminated powdered infant formula or breast milk that was expressed using contaminated breast pump equipment.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, two children were diagnosed with meningitis linked to the Cronobacter sakazakii bacteria.
The children were reportedly exposed in September 2021 and February 2022.
Genome sequencing linked the case from 2021 to open powdered formula, according to the CDC. The 14-day-old child was evaluated at a hospital for fever, irritability, and excessive crying. The CDC says the boy was treated with antibiotics for 21 days and made a full recovery.
The case from 2022 involved a 20-day-old child. He was already in the neonatal intensive care unit because he was born prematurely when he became ill. The CDC said he needed respiratory support and suffered seizures. He died about two weeks later. The CDC reports that the child had been fed expressed breast milk fortified with liquid human milk fortifier primarily through an orogastric tube before becoming ill.
The CDC says tests show the bacteria originated from parts of a breast pump that was used at the mother's home. She had reportedly cleaned the breast pump parts in a household sink, sanitized it and assembled it while it was still moist.
The CDC is advising caregivers and clinicians to make sure they know about the risks of Cronobacter sakazakii and are following safe hygiene, preparation and storage practices.