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Cronobacter Infection In Children


Cronobacter are bacteria that can live in dry places. The bacteria are usually found in powdered baby formula, powdered milk, and herbal teas. A Cronobacter infection is rare but can be life-threatening for infants who are days or weeks old. An infection can cause inflammation around the brain, blood poisoning, or an intestine infection.


Seek care immediately if:

  • Your infant has any signs or symptoms of Cronobacter infection, such as poor feeding or irritability.
  • Your infant has a fever.

Contact your child's healthcare provider if:

  • Your child has new or worsening signs or symptoms.
  • Your child's signs or symptoms do not get better or get worse, even after treatment.
  • You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.


  • Antibiotics may be given to your older child to treat a bacterial infection.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Prevent a Cronobacter infection:

  • Wash your hands often. Wash your hands before you make a bottle with formula. Wash your hands after you cough or sneeze, use the bathroom, or change a baby's diaper. This can help prevent the spread of bacteria.
  • Breastfeed your baby, if possible. This will prevent infection from powdered formula. Breast milk is the only nutrition your baby needs for the first year of life.
  • Keep formula safe. Most powdered formula is safe. You can take some extra steps to help protect your baby from the bacteria. If you want to use powdered formula, mix the formula with water that is hot enough to kill bacteria (158°F or 70°C). Boil the water before you use it to mix formula. Do not put a thermometer in the water, because bacteria may be on it. Cool the formula before you give it to your baby. Test it on your wrist to make sure it is not too hot. Do not let the container's lid or scoop touch anything that is not clean. Close the container as soon as possible after you use it. Formula also comes in liquid form. Liquid formula comes in sterile packages that prevent Cronobacter infection. Use all formula right away, or store it in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. Throw away any formula your baby does not drink. Do not save it for a later feeding.
  • Wash bottles and nipples in hot, soapy water. Use a dishwasher if possible. Set the water temperature and drying cycle on hot. If you do not have a dishwasher, use hot, soapy water to clean the bottles and nipples. Then sterilize them in a bottle sterilizer or in boiling water.

Follow up with your child's healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your child's visits.

© 2017 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.