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Death of baby from Lebanon is linked to rare bacteria sometimes found in commercial formula

The baby was only 10 days old when it died on Sunday.

December 19, 2011|by Emily Wood, KY3 News | ewood@ky3.com

LEBANON, Mo. – In the midst of the holiday season, one family here is dealing with heartbreak.  Their infant son died Sundy night after contracting an extremely rare bacterial disease.  Now federal researchers are testing the formula eaten by the baby as his family searches for answers.

After just 10 days with their newborn, a young couple is dealing with the greatest loss that any parents could imagine.

"He was good.  He didn't cry a lot. He was what everybody hopes for when they have a newborn." said his father, Derek Cornett.

Healthy and happy at 6 pounds, 9 ounces, baby Avery Cornett's birth was a Christmas season blessing.  Then, at a week old, Avery suddenly became sick.  He was rushed to a hospital in Springfield, where he died just two days later.

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Avery's parents are trying to make sense of what happened.

"I’m angry that they didn't catch it.  They should’ve," said Cornett.

All they know so far is that their baby somehow contracted a rare bacterial infection known as cronobacter sakazakii.  The bacteria can lead to meningitis, even death.

"The powdered formula has been known to possibly have this type of bacteria,” said Charla Baker, administrator of the Laclede County Health Department.

Staff members at the Laclede County Health Department sent off samples of the two types of formula that the baby ingested for governmental testing.  Both formulas were made by Enfamil.  They're also sending samples of the water used with the formula.

There's a chance the bacteria came from somewhere else, however.

“It could be something that happened during the feedings or during the processing of the formula when it was being prepared for feeding," said Baker.

It could take a week or more for researchers to get the test results.

"Our goal is try to find what that was,” said Baker.

In the meantime, the Cornett family is left with just a memory of a life that never really had the chance to begin.

“I wish we got more than ten days with him," said Cornett.

Both the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control are working on this case to determine the source of the bacteria.  They say, right now, no one using the product should be alarmed but the Walmart store in Lebanon did pull the Enfamil formula off its shelves.  That's where the product was purchased.

A fund to help the family has been set up at the Holman Howe Funeral Home in Lebanon.

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