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Kentucky Health Alert Message: Cronobacter and Infant Formula

This is an urgent healthcare alert from the Kentucky Department for Public Health

Dear Healthcare Providers (particularly pediatricians, family practice clinicians, and pharmacists):

Certain lots of three prominent brands of powdered infant formula, Similac, Alimentum, and EleCare (see FDA announcement for lot information or FDA Press Release – attached also), have been recalled due to possible contamination with Cronobacter sakazakii and Salmonella Newport. Infections, with hospitalization, have been reported in four infants in three different states (Ohio, Minnesota, and Texas); Cronobacter may have contributed to a death in one case.  There are currently no confirmed cases associated with this recall in Kentucky. The last reported illness occurred on Dec. 18, 2021.  The recall is available at: Abbott Voluntarily Recalls Powder Formulas Manufactured at One Plant | FDA.  Parents who report having implicated lots should discontinue use immediately.

Cronobacter infections are rare but are especially high risk for newborn infants.  If you are aware of an infant with indications of sepsis or meningitis without another likely etiology who consumed any of the implicated products in the two weeks prior to onset of illness, we recommend investigating for Cronobacter or Salmonella Newport. Symptoms of sepsis and meningitis may 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. Salmonella can also cause life-threatening illness in an infant; symptoms may include fever, abdominal cramps, aches, fever, and diarrhea.

If your lab has identified an isolate as Cronobacter sakazakii or Salmonella from a suspect case, please have your lab submit the isolate to the Kentucky Division of Laboratory Services (KDLS) for additional testing. Please contact Rachel Zinner at 502-782-7754 for questions regarding submission. Please request parents of infants identified with an isolate as Cronobacter sakazakii or Salmonella to retain the formula for possible testing, regardless of lot number.

If an infant in your care receives powdered formula through the WIC Supplemental Nutrition Program, formula not indicated in the recall is safe to use as well as other brands of infant formula, including liquid and Ready-to-Feed products.  Families should contact their local health department WIC clinic for more information about their benefits during regular business hours.  Impacted lots can be verified at

Please find further information attached (FDA Announcement, Abbott Voluntary Recall Notice) which gives more specific details on the investigation and recall situation.  You can also visit CDC’s website on Cronobacter Infection in Infants, which includes information on safe feeding practices for infants at:

Thank you for your attention to this important matter.

Doug Thoroughman, PhD, MS

CDC Career Epidemiology Field Officer

Kentucky Department for Public Health

275 E. Main St., HS 2GW-C

Frankfort, KY 40621

Phone: 502-564-3418 x4315

Fax: 502-564-9626

Abbot Voluntary Recalls Powder Formulas Manufactured at One Plant

FDA Investigation of Cronobacter and Salmonella Complaints: Powered Infant Formula

FDA Warns Consumers Not to Use Certain Powdered Infant Formula