The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are investigating four complaints of infant illness related to products from Abbott Nutrition’s Sturgis, Michigan facility received from September 6, 2021 to December 18, 2021. Complaints included three reports of Cronobacter sakazakii infection and one report of Salmonella Newport infection in an infant. All infants were hospitalized, and one death was reported.
On February 17, 2022, Abbott Nutrition issued a voluntary recall of the powdered infant formula Similac, Alimentum or EleCare with the following product codes which can be found on the container:
- The first two digits of the code are 22 through 37, and
- The code contains K8, SH, or Z2, and
- The expiration date is April 1, 2022 (APR 2022) or later.
These products are widely distributed across the US. For information and questions about these products, visit https://www.fda.gov/food/outbreaks-foodborne-illness/fda-investigation-cronobacter-and-salmonella-complaints-powdered-infant-formula-february-2022. Products that do not contain the information listed above are not impacted by this advisory.
Cronobacter is a bacteria found naturally in the environment and can live in dry foods, such as powdered infant formula. Infants infected with the bacteria can present with fever, diarrhea, poor feeding, irritability, and abnormal movements. Infants can develop life-threatening infections such as sepsis or meningitis.
Salmonella bacteria typically lives in animal intestines and shed through feces. Humans become infected most frequently through contaminated water or food. Typically, people with salmonella infection have no symptoms. However, infants and immunocompromised individuals may develop diarrhea, vomiting, blood in stools, and abdominal cramps. Infants under 3-months of age are at-risk of serious infections including meningitis, bone, and blood infections. As with Cronobacter, infants should be seen promptly if they develop fever, particularly if it is associated with low energy or increased lethargy.
The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (WVDHHR), Bureau for Public Health, in coordination with local partners, have confirmed at least one infant with a bacterial infection who consumed a recalled product. Healthcare providers are encouraged to:
- Notify their local health department if Cronobacter or Salmonella infection is suspected on an infant with history of consuming the recalled milk formula.
- Obtain clinical specimens (e.g., stool, urine, blood, CSF, etc.) and send for bacterial culture and susceptibility testing. Inform the laboratory to look for Cronobacter and Salmonella bacteria.
- Advise parents and caregivers to seek immediate medical care if their infant has consumed the recalled product and are manifesting the signs and symptoms of Cronobacter or Salmonella infection.
- Advise parents and caregivers to keep any opened or unopened cans of recalled formula in the instance that the local health department wants to collect it for sampling.
For questions about this health advisory, contact the Office of Epidemiology and Prevention Services, Division of Infectious Disease Epidemiology (DIDE) at (304) 558-5358 ext. 2.