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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is investigating an outbreak of Burkholderia cepacia, (B. cepacia) bloodstream infections in patients in long term care and rehabilitation facilities. So far, the outbreak numbers 153 cases in 58 facilities throughout Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. Although 6 fatalities have been reported, it has not yet been determined if they were directly caused by B. cepacia, or other underlying causes related to the patients’ overall health.
The common factor in the outbreak is use of a pre-filled saline flush syringe made by Nurse Assist. The patients with the infection were all receiving IV fluids and/or antibiotics through central venous catheters. The Nurse Assist syringes are being investigated as the source of the bacteria and on October 4, 2016, the company voluntarily recalled the syringes and removed them from use. The lots affected by the recall were distributed from 2/16/16 to 9/30/16. Nurse Assist is participating in the investigation together with the CDC, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and various state agencies to ensure that the pre-filled syringes are safe. Until the outcome of the investigation is conclusive, facilities are advised to discontinue use of the product. Unused product needs to be sequestered and secured to prevent further accidental distribution.
Because the syringes are used to administer an IV saline flush through a vein, the bacteria produce a bloodstream infection. Symptoms of bloodstream infections include increased heart rate, fever or chills, clammy skin, and shortness of breath. The patient may also feel confused or disoriented. B. cepacia is also a strain of bacteria that has become more resistant to standard antibiotic treatment. How to deal with a B. cepacia infection is something that a doctor needs to determine case by case. As of November 23, 2016, the CDC will be updating case counts in this outbreak weekly on Wednesdays.
Routine medical procedures should not be a source of bacterial infection. If you or someone you love has been a victim of medical malpractice in South Jersey, the Cherry Hill medical malpractice lawyers at Folkman Law Offices, P.C. are committed to your success and will go the extra mile for you. Call us at 856-354-9444 for a free case review or contact us online. our offices are conveniently located in Cherry Hill, New Jersey as well as in Philadelphia and King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.