Oklahoma Infant: The Third Victim Of An Atypical Bacteria

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The very young are highly vulnerable in contracting diseases, since their immune system is not yet that developed. Microorganisms, like bacteria, parasites and viruses, are just waiting to penetrate their bodies. Caution needs to be taken into consideration in caring for this population. Recently, a baby from Oklahoma has been ill due to rare bacteria linked to tainted infant formula.

According to health officials last Wednesday, the child, who originated from Tulsa Country, had suffered from an infection caused by Cronobacter sakazakii and gained full recovery. The child from Illinois also recovered after being infected by the bacteria, while the infant from Missouri suffered from an early death at 10 days old. Avery Cornett of Lebanon, the Missouri child, drank Illinois-based Mead Johnson’s Enfamil Newborn powdered infant formula. In the past years, this powdered formula was already suspected to be related to the bacteria-caused sickness. However, Oklahoma’s health officials stated that the child did not take in Enfamil. Moreover, this week, Mead Johnson explained that utilizing their own testing, bacteria were absent in the formula product. The US officials are also waiting for the findings from their own testing of the said product, as well as distilled water (“nursery water”) utilized in preparing it.

Furthermore, Barbara Reynolds, a Center for Disease Control and Prevention spokeswoman, articulated that the infection happened in about the same parts of the country. In addition, antibiotics can aid in treating the sickness; nonetheless, it is still considered seriously harmful for babies aging less than 1 month and preterm ones. It was estimated that 40% of the diseases from the bacteria result to death.

The CDC obtains about 4-6 reports of Cronobacter sakazakii cases annually, although there are no legal requisites that such be relayed. Ten cases have been reported this year; however, it does not imply that the cases are rising. Health officials stated that attention over the Missouri infant’s death may have urged more people to report. Larry Weatherford, Oklahoma State Department of Health’s spokesman, also articulated that this was the scenario in the case at Oklahoma. In December, the infant became ill, but after the Missouri baby died, such incidence had an increased impact.

Cronobacter sakazakii can be located in the natural environment (i.e. plants like wheat and rice), although it was also found before in dried milk and powdered formula. Powdered formula is unsterile; health specialists explained that means are insufficient in killing completely all bacteria, which may move into the formula prior to or on production.

This incidence increased the consciousness of people, especially of parents who are just caring for their little children. This can also be a reminder for the companies to carefully test and screen their products.




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