CHICAGO (STMW) — Illinois public health officials are warning parents and other caregivers to follow safety guidelines when preparing powdered infant feeding formula after a newborn infant in Missouri died and while an infant in Illinois remains hospitalized with an infection.

The two infants contracted the bacterial infection Cronobacter sakazakii (C. sakazakii), which is associated with powdered infant feeding formulas, a release from the Illinois Department of Public Health said.

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An investigation is ongoing to identify the source of infection.

Officials are reminding the public to properly prepare the formula by boiling the water used to mix the formula to sterilize it.

The department warns that commercial powdered infant formulas are not sterile. It can become contaminated with the bacteria through the raw products used to make the formula, contamination after pasteurization or during preparation of reconstituted formula for infant feeding, the release said.

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IDPH recommends washing hands, forearms and fingernails thoroughly before handling any feeding materials or preparing formula and washing all bottles, nipples, caps and rings with hot, soapy water and thoroughly rinsing, the release said.

Formula should be kept dry in an airtight container with a firm cap or lid and stored in a cool, dark area. Make sure the expiration date has not passed. Water should also be brought to a bubbling boil for two minutes and allowed to cool before mixing. The department says a microwave oven should not be used to warm the formula.

More information in best practices in preparing infant formula can be found on the department’s website. Click here.

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(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2010. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)