The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is collaborating with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), multiple state and local health departments, and numerous healthcare facilities to investigate a multi-state outbreak of Burkholderia cepacia infections. These infections have occurred primarily in ventilated patients without cystic fibrosis and who are being treated in intensive care units.

Scanning Electron Micrograph of Burkholderia cepacia/CDC
Scanning Electron Micrograph of Burkholderia cepacia/CDC

Preliminary information indicates that a contaminated liquid docusate product might be related to cases in one state.  Until more information is available, CDC recommends that facilities not use any liquid docusate products for patients who are critically ill, ventilated, or immunosuppressed. Institutions with non-cystic fibrosis patients in whom there are B. cepacia infections should sequester all liquid docusate products.

Healthcare providers and laboratories should be on alert for B. cepacia cases occurring among non-cystic fibrosis patients and should inform infection prevention staff when these infections occur. Cases should be reported to state or local public health authorities.

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.