Enterobacter sakazakii: An emerging pathogen in infants and neonates

Catherine J. Hunter, Mikael Petrosyan, Henri R. Ford, Nemani V. Prasadarao

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

86 Scopus citations


Background: Enterobacter sakazakii (ES) is an emerging pathogen associated with the ingestion of contaminated reconstituted formula that causes necrotizing enterocolitis, sepsis, and meningitis in low-birth-weight preterm neonatal infants. Necrotizing enterocolitis remains the most common gastrointestinal surgical emergency in these infants. In recent years, the International Commission on Microbiological Specifications for Foods has ranked ES a "severe hazard for restricted populations." Because of its resistance to certain antibiotics, better understanding of ES pathogenesis is needed to aid in the development of new preventive strategies. Methods: Review of pertinent English-language literature. Results: Neonatal and older infants appear to be at the highest risk, although adult ES infections have been reported. We discuss the origins of ES, the detection and pathogenesis of the disease, and potential prevention strategies. Conclusions: The precise pathogenesis of ES remains a mystery. Appropriate measures by parents, infant formula manufacturers, and health care providers, as well as understanding of the pathogenesis, are important in the prevention of ES-related infections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)533-539
Number of pages7
JournalSurgical Infections
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Surgery


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