Posted on December 27th, 2011 by Zane Cagle
A Lebanon, Missouri infant is dead after contracting a deadly bacterial infection, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. While it is not known how the baby contracted the infection, a major national retailer has pulled the powdered infant formula the baby consumed from the shelves in “an abundance of caution” as the source of the bacteria is attempted to be located. The manufacturer of the formula checked the batch for Enterobacter sakazakii and found the batch tested negative for the bacteria prior to shipping. While the government has not issued a recall of the formula, parents of babies who are feeding their infants powdered formula need to be acutely aware of their baby’s disposition and seek medical help immediately if any changes appear.
According to WebMD, Enterobacter sakazakii is a bacteria that occurs naturally in plant material, such as wheat, rice, herbs, and spices. It is extremely rare, but extremely devastating. Mortality rates can approach 80% in infants who develop this infection, according to the Centers for Disease Control. If your infant develops irritability, jaundice, unstable body temperature, and loses its appetite, medical help should be sought immediately. This bacteria can also cause meningitis, so parents should also be on the look out for a sluggish baby or vomiting. Meningitis may also cause seizures. Again, if these symptoms appear, do not hesitate to seek medical treatment. This is doubly true for infants who are an increased risk of death from this bacteria, namely babies born with a low birth weight or babies otherwise born with compromised immune systems.
While this bacteria may be found in the formula itself, parents can take steps to prevent the spread of his bacteria in the home. Proper hygiene (such as washing hands and keeping food preparation areas clean) is important. Powder formula should be prepared using water that reaches 158°F. An important fact, one that many consumers may not be aware of, is that powder formula is not sterile. Therefore, bacteria can grow with the powder. Liquid formula is preferable, as it is sterile and much less likely to contain any pathogens. If you are using powder formula, throw out any that has not been used in 24 hours; the longer the formula sits, the more likely it is that bacteria can form.
If you have purchased any powdered formula recently, it is advisable to contact the manufacturer of the product. They can inform you of what steps have been taken in order to ensure no bacterial growth within their product. If a parent still does not feel comfortable feeding their baby this formula, contact your pediatrician to learn what other options are available as health alternatives for your baby. They can also give you more specific information as to what to look for, and give you specific contact information should health issues become apparent in your baby.
Zane T. Cagle and the attorneys at The Cagle Law Firm feel it is important for consumers to know what they are putting in their bodies, especially parents feeding infants. No parent should be forced to worry that they are feeding their baby dangerous food that can cause death or lifelong health issues. With the recent outbreak of E. coli in the St. Louis area, parents need to be especially diligent when it comes to the health of their children. If you or a loved one has fallen ill because of unsafe food preparation or production, contact a Missouri foodborne illness attorney at The Cagle Law Firm today to learn your rights at a consumer. Call (314) 276-1681 for a free consultation today.