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December 4, 2008: New Mexico Entrobacter Sakazakii Infections Link to Infant Formula Investigated

New Mexico public health officials are investigating how two infants became infected with the bacterium Enterobacter sakazakii. Tragically, one of the infants has died; and the other remains hospitalized.  Enterobacter sakazakii infections are rare, and in the past, have been linked to infant formula. ...

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According the State of New Mexico Health Department press release: 

E. sakazakii can cause severe, invasive disease among infants and has been associated with powdered formula, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There have been about 120 cases recorded across the world in all age groups, but infants are at particular risk. Some proportion of powdered formulas that have been tested have contained E. sakazakii or other bacteria that can cause disease.  

The Department of Health is working with the CDC, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and New Mexico Environment Department to try to determine what caused the babies to develop the infection. The Department of Health has interviewed families and conducted environmental and food testing. The Department expects test results to be available in about a week.

 The State of New Mexico Health Department also advises the follow for feeding infants: 
  • The best option for your baby is to breastfeed if possible.  
  • Talk to your health-care provider before trying or changing to a new formula.  
  • Prepare a small amount of formula for each feeding to reduce the amount and time that formula is at room temperature before your baby drinks it.  
  • If you have prepared formula and your baby has not had any, throw the formula away within two hours of preparation. If your baby drank out of the bottle, throw away any leftover formula within one hour.
  • Always wash your hands before preparing formula or any food for yourself or family members.
  • Prepared formula in a refrigerator should be used within 24 hours.

 To read the entire press release, please click New Mexico Department of Health Investigates Enterobacter sakazakii infections. 

For additional information, please click FDA Health Professionals Letter, Enterobacter sakazakii Infections Associated With Use of Powdered (Dry) Infant Formulas.

For recent outbreak and food recall news, please see Salmonella Outbreak Ohio and Minnesota, Listeria Bacon Bit Recall, and Listeria Burrito Recall.

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