Definition & Symptoms

Cronobacter, which used to be called Enterobacter sakazakii, is a germ that can live in very dry places. Cronobacter has been found in dry foods, like powdered infant formula, powdered milk, herbal teas, and starches. It has also been found in sewer water. Getting sick with Cronobacter does not happen often. Cronobacter infections are often very serious for babies though; they can die. Cronobacter infection can also be very serious for older people and people whose bodies have trouble fighting germs, like people with HIV, organ transplants, or cancer.

Symptoms of Cronobacter:

Sicknesses from Cronobacter look different depending on the person.

Babies (less than 1 year old): In babies, especially babies less than 2 months old, Cronobacter germs usually get in the blood or make the lining of the brain and spine swell (meningitis). Sickness from Cronobacter in babies will usually start with a fever and poor feeding, crying, or very low energy. Some babies may also have seizures. Babies with meningitis may develop serious, long-lasting problems in their brains. Up to 4 out of 10 babies with meningitis from Cronobacter can die.

People of all ages: Cronobacter can cause problems in cuts, scrapes, or places where people have had operations. Cronobacter can also get into your urinary tract. Older people and people with weakened immune systems (for example, people being treated with immune-suppressing drugs for cancer, organ transplants, or other illnesses, or those with HIV infection or genetic conditions that affect the immune system) may also get Cronobacter in their blood.