It appears that little Avery Cornett was the second baby within two weeks who became ill after ingesting baby formula.
The first infant to become sick was from Illinois, but treated at a Missouri hospital. Since that baby is a resident of Illinois, that state's health department is in charge of the investigation there. That baby is still hospitalized, according to health officials in Illinois.
Avery Cornett was born healthy at six pounds nine ounces, but about a week after his birth he was rushed to St. John's hospital in Lebanon after appearing lethargic and acting like he had a stomach ache.
He was transferred to St. John's in Springfield, where he died on Sunday after being taken off of life support. While little Avery was being treated it was discovered he had contracted cronobacter sakazakii. The rare bacterial infection, which is linked to baby formula, causes a fatal infection of the bloodstream and central nervous system.
The infection can be treated with antibiotics, but it's deemed extremely dangerous to babies less than one month old and those born premature. Only two to three cases a year are reported in infants worldwide. In 2008 two cases were reported in New Mexico - one infant died and another suffered severe brain damage. Another infant from Tennessee died in 2001 after being infected.
Now the Centers for Disease Control is assisting officials in Lebanon trace the origin of the bacteria.
Samples of two types of Enfamil (one of which is Enfamil Newborn Premium - the other was a sterile ready to eat liquid) the family bought at Walmart and distilled water that Derek Cornett and Shelby Schrack used to prepare the powdered formula have been sent to the CDC for testing.
Those tests results are expected back in about 10 days.
The Government has not called for a recall on the products and government officials say people using the products should not be alarmed. However, the world's largest retailer has removed the products in question from stores shelves nationwide.
"Out of an abundance of caution, we have removed the remaining product from that store's shelves and we are also notifying all other stores across the country to remove product of the same lot number as well," says Walmart spokesperson Dianna Gee.
Customers who purchased the Enfamil Newborn powdered formula from Walmart can return it to any of the chains stores for a full refund.
Gee says that as soon as Walmart was notified of Avery's death, the company's food safety team contacted Mead Johnson Nutrition, the maker of Enfamil Newborn, and the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services to provide any information needed to aid in the investigation of the newborns death.
The formula in question is packaged in 12.5oz canisters with the date ZP1K7G, and the UPC code 30087510050. The phone number for Mead Johnson is 1-800-BABY-123. Callers are being advised to return the product to the place of purchase. A spokesperson for Mead Johnson says the batch of formula in question was tested for the presence of the deadly bacteria before it left the plant and tests on the product were negative. The company has gone back and reconfirmed that data.
The bacteria in question occur naturally in the environment and in plants such as wheat and rice. But the most worrisome appearances have been in dried milk and powdered formula, which is why manufacturers routinely test for the pathogens.
The product is not exclusive to Wal-Mart and as of Thursday afternoon, Mead Johnson Nutrition had not issued a recall of the product in question.
Gee says everyone at Walmart expresses their deepest condolences to the family of Avery Cornett.
Funeral services for little Avery will be held at 6:30 p.m. today at Holman-Howe Funeral Home in Lebanon.