Enterobacter sakazakii infections among neonates, infants, children, and adults. Case reports and a review of the literature

Medicine (Baltimore). 2001 Mar;80(2):113-22. doi: 10.1097/00005792-200103000-00004.


Enterobacter sakazakii can cause serious infections especially among the very young and the elderly. It continues to be more common among neonates and infants than adults. Its tropism for the central nervous system in neonates and infants remains a mystery. Among neonates and infants, E. sakazakii has a propensity to cause meningitis resulting in ventriculitis, brain abscess or cyst formation, and development of hydrocephalus requiring ventricular-peritoneal shunt. Computed tomography of the head is therefore useful in following patients with E. sakazakii meningitis. Mortality and morbidity of E. sakazakii meningitis is high, and virtually all patients recovering from the central nervous system infection suffered mental and physical developmental delays. The case-fatality rate decreased among patients with meningitis treated with the third-generation cephalosporins. Most adults with E. sakazakii infection had serious underlying diseases and 50% of the adults with the infection had malignancies. However there has never been a known case of meningitis. Increasing antibiotic resistance among Enterobacter species should lead one to consider using the carbapenems or the newer cephalosporins in combination with a second agent such as an aminoglycoside. Limited data suggest that trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole may be a useful agent in the treatment of infections caused by the Enterobacter species, especially in view of the production of extended-spectrum beta-lactamases capable of inactivating the cephalosporins and extended-spectrum penicillin.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross Infection / diagnosis
  • Cross Infection / drug therapy
  • Cross Infection / microbiology*
  • Drug Resistance, Microbial
  • Enterobacter cloacae
  • Enterobacteriaceae Infections / diagnosis
  • Enterobacteriaceae Infections / drug therapy
  • Enterobacteriaceae Infections / microbiology*
  • Fatal Outcome
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male