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CDC Warning: Dangerous Germ Found in Powdered Infant Formula

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a new warning about Cronobacter contamination in powdered infant formulas.

Because powdered infant formula is not sterile, it can sometimes contain Cronobacter — formerly known as Enterobacter sakazakii — a germ found naturally in the environment that can survive in very dry conditions, the CDC reports.

Cronobacter bacteria can cause severe blood infections or meningitis, an inflammation of the membranes that protect the brain and spine. If infected, infants two months of age and younger, are most likely to develop the infection.

Infants born prematurely and those with weakened immune systems are also at increased risk for serious sickness from Cronobacter, the CDC warns.

In infants, the sickness generally starts with fever and usually includes poor feeding, crying or very low energy. Very young infants with these symptoms should be taken to a doctor.

In some outbreak investigations, Cronobacter was found in powdered infant formula that had been contaminated in the factory. In other cases, Cronobacter might have contaminated the powdered infant formula after it was opened at home or elsewhere during preparation, according to the CDC.

Because Cronobacter lives in the general environment, it’s likely there have been other sources of this rare sickness.

Using current methods, manufacturers report that it is not possible to get rid of all germs in powdered infant formula in the factory. Powdered infant formula can also be contaminated after the containers are opened. Very young infants, infants born prematurely, and infants whose bodies have trouble fighting off germs are at highest risk.

The CDC offers these tips on protecting your infant:

·      Breastfeed: Breastfeeding helps prevent many kinds of sicknesses among infants. Almost no cases of Cronobacter sickness have been reported among infants who were being exclusively breastfed.

·      If your baby gets formula, choose infant formula sold in liquid form, especially when your baby is a newborn or very young. Liquid formulations are made to be sterile and therefore should not contain Cronobacter germs.

·      If you use powdered infant formula, follow these steps:

1      Clean up before preparation

Wash your hands with soap and water.

Clean bottles in a dishwasher with hot water and a heated drying cycle, or scrub bottles in hot, soapy water and then sterilize them.

Clean work surfaces, such as countertops and sinks.

2      Prepare safely

Keep powdered formula lids and scoops clean and be careful about what they touch.

Close containers of infant formula or bottled water as soon as possible.

Use hot water (158 degrees F/70 degrees C and above) to make formula.

Carefully shake, rather than stirring, formula in the bottle.

Cool formula to ensure it is not too hot before feeding your baby by running the prepared, capped bottle under cool water or placing it into an ice bath, taking care to keep the cooling water from getting into the bottle or on the nipple.

3      Use up quickly or store safely

Use formula within two hours of preparation. If the baby does not finish the entire bottle of formula, throw away the unused formula.

If you do not plan to use the prepared formula right away, refrigerate it immediately and use it within 24 hours. Refrigeration slows the growth of germs and increases safety.

When in doubt, throw it out. If you can’t remember how long you have kept formula in the refrigerator, it is safer to throw it out than to feed it to your baby.

Story Source: http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2016/04/125714/#.VyJvoat5ylA

 

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