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Cronobacter species (formerly known as Enterobacter sakazakii) in powdered infant formula: a review of our current understanding of the biology of this bacterium.

Cronobacter species (formerly known as Enterobacter sakazakii) are opportunistic pathogens that can cause necrotizing enterocolitis, bacteraemia and meningitis, predominantly in neonates. Infection in these vulnerable infants has been linked to the consumption of contaminated powdered infant formula (PIF). Considerable research has been undertaken on this organism in the past number of years which has enhanced our understanding of this neonatal pathogen leading to improvements in its control within the PIF production environment. The taxonomy of the organism resulted in the recognition of a new genus, Cronobacter, which consists of seven species. This paper presents an up-to-date review of our current knowledge of Cronobacter species. Taxonomy, genome sequencing, current detection protocols and epidemiology are all discussed. In addition, consideration is given to the control of this organism in the manufacturing environment, as a first step towards reducing the occurrence of this pathogen in PIF.

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