(ATLANTA) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned parents in a new report to thoroughly clean all infant feeding items to avoid bacterial contamination after two infants were reportedly infected with a rare bacteria.

The CDC reported that two infants were infected with the bacteria Cronobacter sakazakii, in 2021 and 2022. One of the infants reportedly died as a result of the infection.


Cronobacter sakazakii infections are rare but can cause severe illness, like meningitis and sepsis, and death in infants, according to the CDC.

The first case occurred in September 2021 and was linked to an opened container of powdered infant formula. The CDC reported that it tested an unopened container of the same powder and did not detect the bacteria, concluding the open container may have been contaminated by a scoop or other utensil, according to the report. The infant was treated and made a full recovery.

In February 2022, another infant bacterial infection was identified and linked to contaminated breastfeeding equipment that was “cleaned in a household sink, sanitized, and sometimes assembled while still moist,” according to the report. The infant died 13 days after the onset of the infection.


Although the report does not specify the brand of formula involved in the 2021 case, Cronobacter sakazakii is the same bacteria central to the shutdown of Abbott Nutrition’s infant formula plant and formula recall in 2022, after four babies who had consumed Abbott’s formula contracted a Cronobacter sakazakii infection. Abbott maintains there has not been conclusive evidence that its formula caused infant illnesses or deaths.

The CDC recommends if an infant is fed with a powdered formula, all surfaces should be cleaned, as well as all feeding items and hands, to prevent germs that can make a baby sick.

It also recommends not setting the formula scoop on the counter, in the sink, or on any other surface. Additionally, it recommended to keep lids and scoops clean and completely dry and close containers of formula as soon as possible after using them.


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