Third infant reportedly sickened by rare bacteria
Investigators probing a rare infection for a possible link to powdered infant formula have come up empty.
December 28th, 2011
07:27 PM ET

Third infant reportedly sickened by rare bacteria

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.

Wal-Mart pulls baby formula in wake of death

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.

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Filed under: Consumer safety • U.S.
soundoff (107 Responses)
  1. banasy©

    "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."

    Stop, look, READ!

    December 28, 2011 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob Hope

      it is well known that the products are packaged here in the states, but the ingredients come from China.

      December 28, 2011 at 9:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • SixDegrees

      It looks to me as though formula isn't involved at all. The evidence just doesn't support that idea.

      December 28, 2011 at 9:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • g.r.r.

      The fact that it was found in different formula says that it is not the factory, says that it is either the environment, bottle, or ingredients. My guess is that like our pet food, we will find out that these companies have been using Chinese ingredients that are being DUMPED on the market to destroy our own companies.

      That needs to stop. We need congress to step aside and allow the bill that REQUIRES listing of sources. As it is, the neo-cons have stopped that (though the dems have not forced it).

      December 28, 2011 at 9:52 pm | Report abuse |
  2. banasy©

    Belarius Marek:
    Lol. Needed that laugh! Thanks.

    December 28, 2011 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
  3. PHinMiami

    Not breast-feeding? Then take your chances on man made formula that, at best, can't compare to the real stuff. Oh, then don't forget to carry your baby in a basket instead of holding it.

    December 28, 2011 at 8:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • SixDegrees

      These illnesses seem less and less likely to be related to infant formula. This is an extremely rare illness, with typically less than a half-dozen cases reported per year in the US, and there are now three cases in infants in widely separated parts of the country who weren't being given the same formula. I'd say the cause is some other manufactured product with wide distribution, but right now it looks like formula is simply not involved. The evidence simply doesn't support it.

      December 28, 2011 at 9:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • why not

      what about those of us who adopt? Not exactly like I have a breast full of milk lying around??

      December 28, 2011 at 9:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • samiam

      Read the facts of the article, this is most likely to do with something other than formula. No need to start attacking people for their choices. Some parent have no choice but to use formula, and some people drink and do drugs while breastfeeding.

      December 28, 2011 at 9:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kevin Schlomer

      That kind of remark is very hurtful to some people. You realize that there are some women, like my wife, who tried to breastfeed and it would not work. Not everyone chooses formula out of "choice." Your comment came out as very unkind.

      December 28, 2011 at 10:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • T3chsupport

      Don't forget to be a condescending snob who doesn't consider that it's not an option for everyone, and tell everyone else how to parent their children.

      December 28, 2011 at 10:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Really Jersey

      If you have the money to adopt, invest in a lactation expert & a doctor to give you hormones, so you can nurse. You will give the baby emotional support because breast feeding promotes bonding as well as providing things formulas cannot for their future health & intelligence. A happy healthy child is worth the extra effort.

      December 29, 2011 at 8:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Really Jersey

      Simply using a formula could be the cause SixDegrees, not the brand or the store it was purchased from. Formula fed infants do have a higher death rate from infection. Formula does not have the immune factors breast milk has that compensate for the baby's lower immune system. They even mix donated milk with formula for preemies to keep them from dying of infection in the hospitals. Even small amounts of breast milk is better than no breast milk at all. The sad thing is the poor are more likely to formula feed than parents with higher education.

      December 29, 2011 at 8:58 am | Report abuse |
  4. BOB

    Have they bothered to test the bottle liners used in these bottle for this rare bacteria? It appears to not be confined to just one formula. Just mabe its not the formula at all.

    December 28, 2011 at 9:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ed

      It's not a "rare" bacterium by any means. If you would bother to read the article you would see that it correctly states that this bacteria is present in MOST of our home environments.

      December 28, 2011 at 9:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • DontBeStupid

      Really, Bob? It's happening in several different formulas made by several different companies from several different factories, and "maybe" it's not the formula? I don't see how you reached such a farfetched conclusion.

      December 28, 2011 at 10:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Really Jersey

      I actually think the deaths have more to do with what is MISSING from formula. The bacteria is common. Without a strong immune system to fight it off & without the help in immune factors that breast milk provides... is it any surprise. There is simply a higher death rate from infection in formula fed infants.

      December 29, 2011 at 9:14 am | Report abuse |
  5. FDA probes

    The FDA probed the Bayer Pharmaceutical giant had been knowingly lacing medications with HIV and distributing them in the US. There are wrongful death cases being pursued over this matter even now. President Obama used his executive authority and ordered the FDA and the CDC to stand down. Youtube 'nazi bayer ag' and watch MSNBC's report showing the results of several investigations by newspapers and the gov. of France.. This is without a doubt one of the most heinous deeds I've ever heard of. 13 children have died who took the tainted meds. And now many of the parents have aquired HIV. And they ARE suing. But is this not a CRIMINAL matter? Somebody get that Attorneys General off his ass. Oh, he's too busy making excuses for thousands of American gun show guns winding up in Mexico.

    December 28, 2011 at 9:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      [Citation Needed]

      December 28, 2011 at 10:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • DontBeStupid

      HIV can't exist outside the host for extended amounts of times. You're either woefully ignorant, misinformed, or lying. Regardless, you should immediately remove yourself from the gene pool. You are detrimental to the human race.

      December 28, 2011 at 10:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • g.r.r.

      so, how much money are you on the take for from the neo-cons? Hopefully, they pay you above minimum, but I doubt it.

      December 29, 2011 at 5:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Really Jersey

      So, drug use & risky promiscuity are not factors at all in your tinfoil hatted world? See a psychiatrist please.

      December 29, 2011 at 9:18 am | Report abuse |
  6. banasy©

    It is also well known that Enfamil has been manufactured here for many, many, many years, and blaming China is just another way for America to get it's hate on.

    December 28, 2011 at 9:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • g.r.r.

      where are the ingredients from? Just because it is mixed here, does not mean that all the ingredients come from here. The aflatoxin in the pet foods came from Chinese ingredients. Yet, those foods (such as old yeller) were made here.

      December 29, 2011 at 4:58 am | Report abuse |
  7. banasy©

    Six Degrees:
    I agree.

    why not:
    I agree.
    In the old days, they would have employed a "wet nurse".
    Nowadays, I'd be more inclined to take my chances with formula.

    December 28, 2011 at 9:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Really Jersey

      Even a small amount of breast milk from the mothers helps to prevent death from infections. NICU's mix it with formula to keep babies alive.

      December 29, 2011 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
  8. Jazzy

    Crazy ain't it? I'm posting from my son's 'scroll_touch phone. Little weired but fun!

    December 28, 2011 at 9:48 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jazzy

    Hey banasy, how are you tonight?

    December 28, 2011 at 9:50 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Mike Smikeldoodle

    Walmart will have to eat the cost on the formula unless the manufacturer agrees to a buy back. If it turns out Walmart acted prematurely to slander Enfamil, then they could wind up paying billions in damages. I've seen it happen before to Walmart. But they are playing the blame game in this instance because they would rather pay a settlement to Enfamil than to a family who lost a baby. In the end, its a multi-billion dollar public relations game they would rather loose to a company than a family.

    December 28, 2011 at 9:52 pm | Report abuse |
  11. chrissy

    wow i see OUR village idiot is back!

    December 28, 2011 at 9:55 pm | Report abuse |
  12. banasy©

    Not raising this one, chrissy!
    This village is *closed*!

    Jazzy:
    Doing good. You?

    December 28, 2011 at 10:04 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Rhonda Braithwaite

    @Mike Smikeldoodle:

    Walmart took it off the shelves after the bacterium was traced back to a can of Enfamil that was purchased there. They weren't trying to slander Enfamil anymore than the retailers who sold the tainted Tylenol was. It was the preemptive thing to do. If they hadn't, and another kid died, you'd be b1tching up a storm that walmart didn't act sooner.Cut the sh1t out. If you hate walmart, don't shop there. I don't!

    December 28, 2011 at 10:11 pm | Report abuse |
  14. chrissy

    lol @ banasy, me either!

    December 28, 2011 at 10:12 pm | Report abuse |
  15. bobcat (in a hat)

    Hey, here's an idea I bet everyone could live with. How about we go back to the old ways of using evaporated milk and Karo syrup. You mix the "formula yourself, so there won't be any guessing.

    December 28, 2011 at 10:19 pm | Report abuse |
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