The number of Burkholderia cepacia bloodstream infections associated with contaminated prefilled saline flush syringes has increased by more than 100 in the past month, according to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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

On Oct. 9, this site reported at least 36 potential cases of B. cepacia linked to Nurse Assist I.V. Flush Syringes in four states.

One month later, the CDC has reported 149 cases in five states (Delaware-4, Maryland-12, New Jersey-52, New York-55 and Pennsylvania-26).

Six deaths have been reported; however, it has not been determined whether the deaths associated with this outbreak were caused by the B. cepacia infection, the patients’ underlying health conditions, or another cause.

The majority of these cases have occurred in patients residing at long-term care or rehabilitation facilities who were receiving intravenous (IV) fluids and/or antibiotics through central venous catheters. Contaminated prefilled saline flush syringes manufactured by Nurse Assist, Haltom City, TX, are being investigated as the source of the bacteria. Nurse Assist is therefore performing a voluntary recall and removal of all its prefilled saline flush syringes on October 4, 2016.

Health officials advise distributors, healthcare facilities and healthcare providers should:

  • Stop using any remaining recalled Nurse Assist prefilled saline flush syringe products.
  • Immediately recover any unused product from pharmacies, medication carts, medication preparation areas, and patient care areas. Sequester these products in such a way that they are secured and not prone to further distribution or use within the facility.
  • Notify local or state health authorities of any cases of B. cepacia bloodstream infections identified among patients who received intravenous care at a facility that was using these products and whose symptoms began since August 1, 2016.
  • Report adverse reactions or quality problems experienced with the use of this product to the FDA’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program either online, by regular mail or by fax.