An outbreak of Burkholderia cepacia at South Australia’s Royal Adelaide Hospital has been linked to tainted mouthwash, according to a local media report.


The antibacterial mouthwash, Chlorofluor Gel, tested positive for the bacterium and was still “in date”.

Hospital administration issued an urgent memo to staff about the contaminated mouthwash following several cases of infections and have been ordered to remove all Chlorofluor Gel mouthwash packs and retain them for collection.

Burkholderia cepacia is the name for a group or “complex” of bacteria that can be found in soil and water. Burkholderia cepacia bacteria are often resistant to common antibiotics. Burkholderia cepacia poses little medical risk to healthy people; however, it is a known cause of infections in hospitalized patients. People with certain health conditions, like weakened immune systems or chronic lung diseases (particularly cystic fibrosis), may be more susceptible to infections with Burkholderia cepacia.

The Australian Therapeutics Goods Administration also has been alerted.

The Australian outbreak comes as federal health authorities in the US investigate a multi-state outbreak of Burkholderia cepacia infections linked to liquid docusate products.