Cronobacter: Prevention and risks

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How Cronobacter spreads

Cronobacter bacteria have been found in dried foods, including powdered infant formula, powdered milk, herbal tea and starches.

Powdered infant formulas aren't sterile. They can become contaminated with Cronobacter:

Powdered formula should be prepared with boiled water that has been cooled. Never let powdered formula sit at room temperature after mixing it with water, as this will cause the bacteria to multiply quickly.

Preventing Cronobacter

We recommend exclusively breastfeeding your infant for the first 6 months of their life if possible. Along with many other benefits, breastfeeding can prevent foodborne illnesses, including Cronobacter infections.

If you do use formula, we recommend using commercially produced sterile liquid infant formula when possible.

Powdered infant formula is not sterile but can be given to infants if it's prepared properly. We recommend taking the extra precautions listed below when preparing powdered infant formula. These precautions are particularly important for babies at the highest risk of severe illness, including:

Extra precautions when preparing formula

You can reduce your baby's risk of foodborne illness, including Cronobacter infection, by following these steps:

For more information, refer to: Preparing and handling powdered infant formula.

Risks of getting Cronobacter

Your infant may be at risk of a Cronobacter infection if you don't follow proper practices while preparing, handling and storing powdered formula. You and your family are also at risk of Cronobacter infection if you don't follow proper hand hygiene practices.

Who is most at risk

Those at high risk of severe illness or complications include:

Risks of complications

In infants, Cronobacter can cause severe complications such as:

Infants with Cronobacter infections can also develop long-term complications such as neurological disorders.

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