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Banked human milk (BHM) has inherent infectious risks, even when pasteurized. Because of the ubiquity of Bacillus cereus in the environment and its ability to resist the Holder pasteurization process, there is a concern that BHM might lead to severe B. cereus infections.
We reviewed observed and published cases to determine the potential causal role of BHM as the source of these infections.
Two infants in the province of Québec (Canada) developed a B. cereus neonatal infection, and both had received BHM. We conducted bacteriological studies to compare clinical isolates and those found in these cases.
After extended culture of BHM retention lots, B. cereus was found to have been involved in batches related to the first case. However, molecular typing showed that the strain was different from the clinical isolate, therefore excluding BHM as the source of contamination. In the second case, a Brevibacillus spp was isolated, a species distinct from the clinical isolate.
Based on these cases and others reported in the literature, a causal link between B. cereus contaminated BHM and preterm neonatal infection has never been documented. Therefore, the risk that BHM can cause this infection remains theoretical. Given the widespread presence of B. cereus in the hospital environment and its capacity to resist standard cleaning procedures, it seems likely that airborne or direct or indirect contact are the main sources of most, if not all, cases of severe B. cereus neonatal infections, even in babies exposed to BHM.
An 8 year old boy developed cerebral abscess and purulent meningitis due to Clostridium perfringens and Clostridium paraputrificum after trauma to the left orbit. The patient made a satisfactory recovery with surgical treatment and antibiotic therapy. A review of the literature revealed that meningitis due to Clostridia is rare and usually related to penetrating trauma, and that penetrating trauma to the orbit is associated with significant central nervous system morbidity.
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