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Minerva Pediatrica 2007 April;59(2):137-48

language: English

Enterobacter sakazakii an emerging bacterial pathogen with implications for infant health

Mullane N. R. 1, Iversen C. 2, Healy B. 1, Walsh C. 1, Whyte P. 1, Wall P. G. 3, Quinn T. 1, Fanning S. 1

1 Centre for Food Safety School of Agriculture,Food Science and Veterinary Medicine University College Dublin Belfield, Dublin, Ireland
2 Institute for Food Safety and Hygiene Vetsuisse Faculty University of Zurich Zurich, Switzerland
3 School of Public Health and Population Sciences University College Dublin Belfield, Dublin, Ireland


Enterobacter sakazakii (E. sakazakii) is an opportunistic pathogen and the aetiological agent in rare but life-threatening cases of meningitis, necrotizing enterocolitis, and sepsis in infants. Among infants, those at greatest risk are neonates (<28 days), particularly those born prematurely or of low birth weight (<2 500 g). Consumption of contaminated powdered infant formula (PIF) has been epidemiologically linked with cases of infection. Contamination can occur during the manufacturing process or during postmanufacture reconstitution of formula. Development of rapid, sensitive and specific detection methods will facilitate manufacturers efforts to reduce the occurrence of E. sakazakii in the final powdered product. Furthermore, since PIF is not a sterile product, proper precautions should be taken during handling and reconstitution of formula prior to feeding in order to prevent contamination and proliferation of the bacterium.

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