Infant Death Linked to Contaminated Breast Pump: CDC

Genetic sequencing linked the infection to bacteria from a breast pump used at home

HealthDay News — Cronobacter sakazakii bacteria from a contaminated breast pump caused an infection that killed an infant last year, US federal health officials said Thursday.

The new report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns parents of newborns about the need to sterilize equipment, whether it is used for bottle feeding or as part of breastfeeding. Cronobacter bacteria are found widely in the environment. The bacteria is the same that led to the recall of powdered infant formula last year, according to the report.

In this case, the baby was a premature boy who was hospitalized and died. He had been fed a combination of breast milk and liquid human milk fortifier.

Investigators tested samples from expressed milk, a breast pump used in the hospital, and the liquid human milk fortifier. All were negative for the bacteria. But genetic sequencing linked the infection to bacteria from a breast pump used at home, which the investigation found was cleaned in a household sink, sanitized, and sometimes assembled while still moist.

Thorough washing, sanitizing, and drying of hands, equipment, and all surfaces before feeding a baby is important, according to the report published March 3 in the CDC publication Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

“Hospitals caring for premature or critically ill infants might consider providing instructions and a dedicated basin for cleaning supplies at home upon hospital discharge to minimize the risk of contamination,” writes first author, Julia C. Haston, MD, of the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases at the CDC. “Increased awareness of safe hygiene, preparation, and storage practices related to infant feeding products, enhanced understanding of C. sakazakii reservoirs, and ongoing public health messaging can help prevent infant C. sakazakii infections, complications, and deaths.”

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