Cronobacter sakazakii bacteria from a contaminated breast pump caused an infection that killed an infant last year, U.S. federal health officials said Thursday.
The new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns parents of newborns about the need to sterilize equipment, whether it's used for bottle feeding or as part of breastfeeding.
“There are steps that people can take to prevent infections,” report author Dr. Julia Haston, a CDC expert in pediatric infectious diseases, told the Associated Press.
Cronobacter bacteria are found widely in the environment. The bacteria is the same that led to the recall of powdered infant formula last year, according to the report.
In this case, the baby was a premature boy who was hospitalized and died. He had been fed a combination of breast milk and liquid human milk fortifier.
Investigators tested samples from expressed milk, a breast pump used in the hospital and the liquid human milk fortifier. All were negative for the bacteria.
But genetic sequencing linked the infection to bacteria from a breast pump used at home, which the investigation found was cleaned in a household sink, sanitized and sometimes assembled while still moist.
Thorough washing, sanitizing and drying of hands, equipment and all surfaces before feeding a baby is important, according to the report published March 3 in the CDC publication Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has more on Cronobacter.
SOURCES: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, March 3, 2023; Associated Press