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Published on Nov 13, 2013
Cronobacter, formerly known as Enterobacter sakazakii, is a genus of Gram-negative bacteria that exists in the environment and can survive in very dry conditions. The natural habitat for Cronobacter is not known. It has been found in a variety of dry foods, including powdered infant formula, skimmed milk powder, herbal teas and starches. It has also been found in wastewater.
Illnesses due to Cronobacter are rare, but they can be lethal for infants and serious among people with immunocompromising conditions and the elderly. Although any person can get sick from the bacteria, babies, older people and people who are already sick seem to get it more often. Meningitis from Cronobacter almost always happens in babies less than 2 months old.
Cronobacter has been associated with powdered infant formula that had been contaminated in the factory. In other cases, Cronobacter might have contaminated the powdered infant formula after it was opened at home or elsewhere.
Cronobacter can cause problems in cuts, scrapes or places where people have had operations. Cronobacter can also get into people's urinary tract. Older people and people whose bodies have trouble fighting germs because of a sickness they already have may also get Cronobacter in their blood.
Since the bacteria live in the environment, it's possible that there are additional sources of infection. There have been no confirmed reports of Cronobacter infections spreading vertically or through person-to-person contact. However, other related bacteria commonly spread through person-to-person contact, especially in healthcare facilities when there are lapses in infection control practices.
These are just a few things to know about Cronobacter. To learn more about this or other microbial contaminants, indoor air quality, health and safety, occupational or environmental issues, please visit the websites shown on the video.