An Oklahoma infant is the third to be sickened by a rare bacteria that can come from baby formula, according to news reports Wednesday.
The baby is from Tulsa County and has fully recovered from Cronobacter sakazakii, CNN affiliate KYTV reported.
The child was fed a different brand of baby formula than Enfamil, the kind that has been linked in news reports to the death of 10-day-old Avery Cornett in Missouri, according to KYTV.
A newborn in Illinois was also sickened from the rare infection but is recovering, according to the state health officials.
A spokesman for Mead Johnson Nutrition, the company that makes Enfamil, told CNN Wednesday that FDA inspectors were investigating the company’s Michigan factory in the wake of the infections, but he characterized the probe as routine.
“In addition to their routine reviews, FDA inspectors do site visits as part of their follow-up on serious complaints for any food product - for example to collect samples and check batch records. This is standard operating procedure for them, and we would expect that they have also had inspectors visit production facilities for various other products/items they are testing as part of this investigation,” Chris Perille said in an e-mail statement.
Health officials have been investigating the infections for a possible link to powdered infant formula, but state, federal and company tests have found no Cronobacter. The babies' surroundings - where they live, what they ate - are also being scrutinized.
“Because cronobacter (enterobacter sakazakii) is so commonly present throughout the environment, we expect they (FDA inspectors) are looking at a large number of other possible sources - water, clothing, bedding, preparation and use surfaces, etc. - so they have a lot of testing to complete and, of course, they want to be both thorough and accurate,” Perille said.
The Missouri case prompted retail giant Wal-Mart to pull all cans of the same size and lot number of baby formula from its shelves.
On Wednesday, Bloomberg quoted Kieran Jordan, a microbiologist at the Moorepark Food Research Centre of Ireland’s Agriculture and Food Development Authority, as saying that the perils of Cronobacter infections via baby formula have come to light only since the 1980s.
“Once the baby powder is rehydrated, it is a very rich environment for the bacteria to grow,” Jordan told Bloomberg.com.
Cronobacter can cause life-threatening infections in newborns and is fatal in nearly 40% of cases, according to the CDC. Infection survivors can be left with severe neurological problems.
Read more about this story from CNN affiliate KYTV.