Cronobacter brain abscess and refractory epilepsy in a newborn: role of epilepsy surgery. Illustrative case

Meredith Yang, John Tsiang, Melissa A. Lopresti, Sandi Lam*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND Neonatal meningitis due to Cronobacter is associated with powdered infant formula. Prompt recognition of this rare but aggressive infection is critical. OBSERVATIONS The authors report a unique case of neonatal Cronobacter meningoencephalitis complicated by brain abscess and status epilepticus, requiring surgical intervention in a preterm 4-week-old male and related to contaminated powdered infant formula. They discuss the medical and surgical management in this patient, as well as the role of epilepsy surgery in acute drug-resistant epilepsy. This is paired with a literature review examining Cronobacter infections in infants to provide a summative review of the existing literature. LESSONS Cronobacter contamination in powdered infant formula and breast pumps is rare but can cause life-threatening infections. When evaluating patients with Cronobacter central nervous system infections, serial neuroimaging, infection control, and prompt surgical management are essential. Future studies are needed regarding the role of epilepsy surgery in the acute infectious period.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberCASE23140
JournalJournal of Neurosurgery: Case Lessons
Issue number25
StatePublished - Jun 2023


  • Cronobacter
  • brain abscess
  • infant
  • newborn
  • refractory epilepsy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Surgery


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