In a follow-up on the Pseudomonas aeruginosa outbreak in Norway hospitals, based on the fact that the source of infection has been removed and a rapidly falling curve, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) considers the Pseudomonas outbreak to be over. The outbreak of the bacterium could be traced back to the pre-moistened disposable washcloths.
The pseudomonas outbreak in Norway included 40 hospitals and over 380 cases of infection from October 2021 to May 2022. The contaminated cloths have caused many infections among patients in hospitals and contributed to at least eight deaths.
Although the outbreak has now been declared and the source of infection has been removed from the market, the institute expects to find more infected patients, because illness can occur several months after infection.
The outbreak of Pseudomonas aeruginosa is the largest documented outbreak in hospitals both in Norway and internationally.
About the source of infection
On March 18, the source of infection was detected at Oslo University Hospital in pre-moistened disposable washcloths of the type “Oasis Bedbath, Unperfumed” from the manufacturer Vernacare in England. Use of the product in hospitals was stopped immediately, and the decline in detected cases was rapid after the source of infection was detected.
The washcloths are classified as a non-sterile cosmetic product and are not required to meet the standard for medical equipment and medicines. According to the regulations, however, there will be no pseudomonas bacteria in cosmetic products of this type.
– The hospitals should therefore review the use of such products for the most vulnerable patients, says the superior at FHI.
The product and other products from the same manufacturer were withdrawn after Norwegian hospital laboratories had made discoveries in several LOTs. The Norwegian Food Safety Authority requested results from the producer’s own quality control, which proved to be deficient. Pseudomonas bacteria were detected in the product as early as September 2021.
– The manufacturer Vernacare distributes its products to countries all over the world, and both FHI and the Norwegian Food Safety Authority announced the outbreak nationally and internationally. In retrospect, one hospital outside Europe that uses the Oasis Cloths, detected the outbreak strain and contacted FHI after reading our article about the outbreak, says Gravningen.
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