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DHHR issues warning about certain recalled powdered infant formulas

CHARLESTON — West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR), Office of Environmental Health Services within the Bureau for Public Health, is advising parents and caregivers to cease the use of certain Similac, Alimentum or EleCare powdered infant formulas produced at Abbott Nutrition’s facility located in Sturgis, Michigan. 

This warning comes as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are investigating four complaints of infant illness related to products from Abbott Nutrition’s Sturgis, MI received from September 6, 2021 to December 18, 2021. Complaints included three reports of Cronobacter sakazakii infections and one report of Salmonella Newport infection in infants. All infants were hospitalized and there was one death.

Abbott has issued a voluntary recall of powdered infant formula from Similac, Alimentum or EleCare with the following product codes which can be found on the container: 

  • the first two digits of the code are 22 through 37 and
  • the code contains K8, SH, or Z2, and
  • the expiration date is April 1, 2022 (APR 2022) or later.

These products are widely distributed across the United States and other countries. Formulas matching the codes provided above could be contaminated with Coronbacter. These bacteria can cause severe foodborne illness in infants with newborns being especially high risk. 

Cronobacter bacteria can cause severe, life-threatening infections such as sepsis, or meningitis. Symptoms of sepsis and meningitis 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. Parents or caregivers noticing any of these symptoms in their children should seek immediate medical care. 

Products that do not contain the information listed above are not impacted by this advisory. This advisory does not include liquid formula products or any metabolic deficiency nutrition formulas. 

Healthcare providers and health departments are encouraged to report any confirmed cases of Cronobacter sakazakii to the DHHR’s Office of Epidemiological and Preventive Services at 304-558-5358, extension 2. 

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