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West Virginia Salmonella illness linked to infant formula

The FDA had been investigating complaints of four infant illnesses from three states – Ohio, Minnesota and Texas.  All four cases related to these complaints were hospitalized and Cronobacter may have contributed to a death in one case.

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR), Bureau for Public Health, in coordination with local health partners, has confirmed the state’s first case of salmonella in an infant as a result of ingesting recalled powdered infant formula.

Last week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced they were investigating four complaints of infant illness related to products produced at Abbott Nutrition’s facility located in Sturgis, Michigan, received from September 6, 2021 to December 18, 2021. Complaints included three reports of Cronobacter sakazakii infections and one report of Salmonella Newport infection in infants. All infants were hospitalized and there was one death.

Abbott issued a voluntary recall of powdered infant formula from 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 United States and other countries. Formulas matching the codes provided above could be contaminated with Cronobacter. These bacteria can cause severe foodborne illness in infants with newborns being especially high risk.

“Parents and caregivers with infants on formula should immediately review the formula to ensure they are not using a recalled product,” said Dr. Ayne Amjad, State Health Officer and Commissioner of DHHR’s Bureau for Public Health. “They should seek immediate medical care if their infant has consumed recalled formula and their infant is experiencing signs and symptoms of Cronobacter or Salmonella infection: diarrhea, poor feeding, irritability, vomiting, or blood in their stool.”

Parents and caregivers with a sick infant who has consumed a recalled product are encouraged to keep opened or unopened cans of recalled formula in the instance that the local health department would like to sample the product.

Cronobacter bacteria can cause severe, life-threatening infections such as sepsis or meningitis. Symptoms of sepsis and meningitis include poor feeding, irritability, temperature changes, jaundice, grunting breaths, and abnormal movements. Cronobacter infection may also cause bowel damage and may spread through the blood to other parts of the body. Parents or caregivers noticing any of these symptoms in their children should seek immediate medical care.

Products that do not contain the information listed above are not impacted by this advisory. This advisory does not include liquid formula products or any metabolic deficiency nutrition formulas.

Healthcare providers and health departments are encouraged to report any confirmed cases of Cronobacter or Salmonella who consumed a recalled product to the DHHR’s Office of Epidemiological and Preventive Services at 304-558-5358, extension 2.

Families who purchase infant formula with WIC benefits should reach out to their WIC clinic to return any open or unopened recalled products. WIC clinics must verify the products prior to replacing WIC benefits.

For more information:

FDA:

https://www.fda.gov/food/outbreaks-foodborne-illness/fda-investigation-cronobacter-and-salmonella-complaints-powdered-infant-formula-february-2022


https://www.fda.gov/safety/recalls-market-withdrawals-safety-alerts/abbott-voluntarily-recalls-powder-formulas-manufactured-one-plant

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