Thursday, December 29th, 2011
Despite laboratory research by the company that makes Enfamil powdered infant formula that showed the powder to be free of the harmful environmental bacteria Cronobacter, more cases of ill babies have parents remaining confused over the product’s safety. Last week, Wal-Mart recalled the formula until the investigation is clearly resolved. The Washington Post reports on the additional illnesses:
An Oklahoma baby is the third infant this month sickened by a rare type of bacteria sometimes associated with tainted powdered infant formula.
The child, from Tulsa County, was infected with Cronobacter sakazakii but fully recovered, health officials said Wednesday. An Illinois child also rebounded after being sickened by the bacteria. A Missouri infant who was 10 days old died.
The Missouri child, Avery Cornett of Lebanon, had consumed Enfamil Newborn powdered infant formula made by Illinois-based Mead Johnson. Powdered formula has been suspected in illnesses caused by the bacteria in years past.
But health officials say the Oklahoma child had not consumed Enfamil. And Mead Johnson this week reported that its own testing found no bacteria in the product.
U.S. officials are awaiting results from their own testing of powdered formula and distilled water — also known as ‘nursery water’ — used to prepare it.
The cases occurred in roughly the same region of the country. At this point, it’s not clear that they are connected, said Barbara Reynolds, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention spokeswoman.
Symptoms can include irritability, lethargy, fever, vomiting and seizures. The infection can be treated with antibiotics, but it’s still deemed extremely dangerous to babies less than 1 month old and those born premature. An estimated 40 percent of illnesses from the bacteria end in death.
Friday, August 5th, 2011
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been following a salmonella outbreak across the United States for months, tracking contamination from African dwarf frogs that are sold as pets, fresh imported papayas, and, this week, some 36 million pounds of Cargill ground turkey. Now, the federal agency is saying that the current strain of salmonella may be more resistant to antibiotic treatment than previous strains.
Salmonella is a bacteria that can cause fever, diarrhea, and abdominal cramping. CNN is reporting that 22 of the 78 people diagnosed with the bacteria during the current outbreak have been hospitalized, and one person has died. The bacteria has been detected in 26 states. Most recover without treatment in four to seven days, but public health officials warn that this strain is resistant to the antibiotic Ciprofloxacin (commonly known as Cipro), which is prescribed when patients develop severe infections from salmonella.
The CDC offers the following recommendations to keep your family safe from salmonella. Remember to:
- Clean. Wash hands, cutting boards, utensils, and countertops.
- Separate. Keep raw meat, poultry, and seafood separate from ready-to-eat foods.
- Cook. Use a food thermometer to ensure that foods are cooked to a safe internal temperature: 145°F for whole meats (allowing the meat to rest for 3 minutes before carving or consuming), 160°F for ground meats, and 165°F for all poultry.
- Chill. Keep your refrigerator below 40°F and refrigerate food that will spoil.
- Don’t prepare food for others if you have diarrhea or vomiting.
- Be especially careful preparing food for children, pregnant woman, those in poor health, and older adults.
Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011
Two children, ages 7 and 5, have died in Hong Kong from scarlet fever, a bacterial infection that has reached outbreak status with around 9,000 confirmed cases in China and 450 in Hong Kong. The disease is most serious in children, who have insufficient immunity to the bacteria, but it can be treated with antibiotics.
The Secretary for Food and Health in Hong Kong, York Chow, told the Xinhua news service, “It is expected that the peak of infections of scarlet fever, which has mostly affected children under 10, will last for the coming two months.” Parents are being advised to practice good preventive hygeine (covering the nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, washing hands frequently), and to seek medical treatment at the first sign of infection.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, scarlet fever is caused by the same bacteria that causes strep throat. It is identified by a rash and strawberry-like appearance of the tongue.