CDC: Contaminated syringes may be causing blood infections in nursing homes

Contaminated syringes may have caused more than 150 bloodstream infections across several states, with long-term care residents being disproportionately hit, the Centers for Disease Control said last week.

The infections, caused by the bacteria Burkholderia cepacia, have been in 58 healthcare facilities, most of which are long-term care. Symptoms of the infection include fever, chills, clammy skin, disorientation, shortness of breath and increased heart rate, the CDC said.

The bacteria's spread is believed to be caused by contaminated prefilled saline flush syringes from Nurse Assist. The company announced a recall of all such syringes in early October.

Since first reported, the number of infections reported to the CDC has spiked. As of last Wednesday, New York had the highest number of cases, with 24 reported. In total six patients diagnosed with the infection have died, although it's unclear whether the deaths were caused by the bacteria or another condition.

The CDC advised healthcare providers to stop using any Nurse Assist syringes, and notify health authorities of any cases of B. cepacia bloodstream infections among patients who received IV treatments using the contaminated products.