Cronobacter Infection: Protecting your infant from this serious illness

Read one mom’s tragic account and find out more about Cronobacter Infection and how to prevent it here.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Cronobacter Infection is a rare but serious illness in infants.

“Cronobacter bacteria can cause severe blood infections (sepsis) or meningitis (an inflammation of the membranes that protect the brain and spine),” the website says. “In infants, the sickness generally starts with fever. It usually includes poor feeding, crying, or very low energy. Young infants with these symptoms should be taken to a doctor.”

In some outbreak investigations, the CDC says, Cronobacter was discovered in powdered infant formulas 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 during preparation.”

Protecting your infant from Cronobacter Infection

To minimize the chances of your baby getting in contact with the infection, CDC says it’s best to feed them breastmilk or an infant formula sold in liquid form.

However, if you’re to feed them powdered formula, good hygiene and proper storage must be strictly followed.

Parents must wash their hands prior to preparation, making sure that all work surfaces have been properly cleaned. It’s also recommended to mix the formula with hot water to kill off germs.

The CDC also advises parents to use the formula within two hours of preparation, and throw away leftovers should there be any. And if they’re not planning to use the formula right away, immediately store it in the refrigerator and consume within 24 hours.

One mom shares her tragic story

Unfortunately, though it's rare, Cronobacter infection can be fatal, tragically robbing parents of their precious little ones.

Mom Jamie Nicole Shears shared her ordeal on Facebook, hoping to shed light on the condition.

“On June 9, 2016 we had to bring Axel into the Emergency Room because he had been excessively crying since 3:30 in the morning,” her Facebook post begins.

The events leading up to the trip to the emergency room had been at once a tumultuous and confusing time. Axel was fussy and running a fever, and despite her many attempts to calm her baby down, she failed.

At three in the morning, she gave him his pacifier and to put him down to bed. Ten minutes later, he woke up crying and screaming.

“I FINALLY got him to go to sleep holding him snugged to my chest so I stayed awake and watched my baby finally get some rest,” the post continues. “Axel had a fever of 100.3 but it went back down to normal about a half hour after me putting a cool rag on his head...”

Jamie and her husband also noticed that whenever they tried to move their baby, he would scream, even with the tiniest touches.

The couple tried everything to soothe their baby before deciding to go to the ER.

“We tried gas drops because maybe [he had] a stomach ache..nope..tried burping him multiple times..rocking him..swaddling..gave him a bath..NOTHING HELPED.”

At the hospital, Jamie said Axel had gone completely blue and stopped breathing.

After conducting tests, the doctors found that Axel was suffering from an infection called Cronobacter Infection, a “bacterial infection in his blood that went to his spinal fluid which led to his brain, causing multiple mini strokes which led to multiple seizures as well.”

Axel had been placed on life support because he couldn’t breathe on his own. An MRI also revealed that all four parts of his brain had been affected by the infection.

Sadly, Axel’s doctors said that the infant’s prognosis didn’t look good and had very little chance at life. On June 18, Jamie and her husband made the painful decision to take their son off life support.

“He fought SO HARD...SO HARD..but his little body just couldn't do it anymore,” the grieving mother says. “He passed 3 times but coming back each time to give us just a few more breaths but then at 11:35 a.m. he took his last breath & went to be with the Lord.”

Axel was only 27 days old.

*Lead image only a representation

READ: Mom of baby with Biliary Atresia shares: “We will continue to fight to save our son’s life”