Babies most at risk from Cronobacter
Infants who are more likely to get sick include those who:
- are less than 2 months old. These infants are most likely to develop life-threatening conditions if they get sick from Cronobacter
- were born prematurely
- have weakened immune systems because of their illness or medical treatment, such as chemotherapy for cancer.
- Poor feeding.
- Excessive crying.
- Very low energy.
- Seizures, or grunting when breathing.
Babies with these symptoms should be taken to a doctor or hospital as soon as possible.
Find out about fevers – Ministry of Health
How babies can be exposed to Cronobacter
Cronobacter is found naturally in the environment and can be present on any household surface. In rare occasions, the bacteria are found in infant formula. In some cases, the powder might have been contaminated while it was being prepared in a factory, but it is also possible for the bacteria to get into the powder once you open it at home. Cronobacter may even get on equipment for preparing pumped breast milk.
How to prevent Cronobacter infection in babies
- Breastfeed if you can.
- Clean kitchen counters, the sink, or any other surfaces that might touch baby formula with soap and water, or a disinfectant wipe.
- Clean, sanitise, and air dry all baby feeding items such as bottles, nipples, caps, rings, and breast pump parts.
- Keep your hands clean.
- If your baby was born prematurely or has a weakened immune system, use liquid formula, which is sterile.
- Prepare and store powdered infant formula safely.
- Use prepared infant formula within 2 hours of preparing it.
- If you do not plan to start feeding your baby with the prepared formula right away, put it in the refrigerator immediately. Use formula from the refrigerator within 24 hours.
Find out more
How to safely prepare and feed infant formula – HealthEd
Who to contact
If you have questions about keeping safe from Cronobacter, email firstname.lastname@example.org