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Cronobacter brain abscess and refractory epilepsy in a newborn: role of epilepsy surgery. Illustrative case

Meredith Yang, John Tsiang, Melissa A. LoPresti, and Sandi Lam


Neonatal meningitis due to Cronobacter is associated with powdered infant formula. Prompt recognition of this rare but aggressive infection is critical.


The authors report a unique case of neonatal Cronobacter meningoencephalitis complicated by brain abscess and status epilepticus, requiring surgical intervention in a preterm 4-week-old male and related to contaminated powdered infant formula. They discuss the medical and surgical management in this patient, as well as the role of epilepsy surgery in acute drug-resistant epilepsy. This is paired with a literature review examining Cronobacter infections in infants to provide a summative review of the existing literature.


Cronobacter contamination in powdered infant formula and breast pumps is rare but can cause life-threatening infections. When evaluating patients with Cronobacter central nervous system infections, serial neuroimaging, infection control, and prompt surgical management are essential. Future studies are needed regarding the role of epilepsy surgery in the acute infectious period.