Deadly baby formula bacteria strikes again in US - What parents need to know - Hindustan Times
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Deadly baby formula bacteria strikes again in US - What parents need to know

Dec 10, 2023 04:45 PM IST

This year FDA disclosed two alarming cases related to Cronobacter sakazakii, linked to the consumption of powdered formula manufactured by Abbott Nutrition.

Federal health officials have confirmed that the same bacteria responsible for the 2022 baby formula recall is back, causing devastating consequences. This year, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) disclosed two alarming cases related to Cronobacter sakazakii, linked to the consumption of powdered formula manufactured by Abbott Nutrition, the company involved in the previous recall.

FILE - A sign for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is displayed outside their offices in Silver Spring, Md., Dec. 10, 2020. The Indian manufacturer of more than two dozen varieties of eyedrops subject to a U.S. safety warning officially recalled the products, which were sold by CVS Health, Target, Rite Aid and other national retailers. Kilitch Healthcare India issued the recall on Monday, Nov. 13, 2023, and the FDA published the notice Wednesday, Nov 15. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)(AP)
FILE - A sign for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is displayed outside their offices in Silver Spring, Md., Dec. 10, 2020. The Indian manufacturer of more than two dozen varieties of eyedrops subject to a U.S. safety warning officially recalled the products, which were sold by CVS Health, Target, Rite Aid and other national retailers. Kilitch Healthcare India issued the recall on Monday, Nov. 13, 2023, and the FDA published the notice Wednesday, Nov 15. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)(AP)

Tragically, a newborn in Kentucky lost its life, while an infant in Missouri suffered brain damage due to life-threatening infections caused by this bacteria. The babies had consumed Abbott Nutrition's powdered formula, emphasizing the severity of the situation.

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Notably, Abbott and the FDA found no evidence linking the contamination to the formula maker's facilities. Instead, investigations suggest that contamination likely occurred after the formula containers were opened at home, raising awareness about proper handling.

While Abbott initiated a voluntary recall in 2022 following the detection of Cronobacter sakazakii, the FDA clarified that the recent cases do not warrant new recalls. The infections were not traced back to manufacturing, and the FDA emphasized, "There is no indication of a broader public health concern related to this product at this time."

In a heartbreaking case in Missouri, a 6-week-old baby named Mira White faced severe brain infection from the bacteria found in an open container of Similac NeoSure formula. Mira's story underscores the devastating impact of this bacterial threat, leading to seizures and neurological damage.

Similarly, in Kentucky, a baby consuming Similac Total Comfort powdered formula lost its life after contracting Cronobacter sakazakii. This tragic incident emphasizes the urgent need for increased awareness and caution among parents.

Cronobacter sakazakii is a naturally occurring germ found in the environment, especially in dry foods like powdered infant formula. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stresses the importance of maintaining cleanliness to reduce the risk, advising parents to frequently clean surfaces, hands, and baby products. Additionally, parents are urged to avoid placing formula scoops on countertops, keep lids and scoops clean and dry, and promptly close formula containers after use.

As this bacterial threat resurfaces, parents are encouraged to stay informed and adhere to stringent hygiene practices when handling powdered infant formula, prioritizing the health and safety of their little ones.

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