Study confirms: Blood infections in SNFs traced to contaminated syringes

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A rash of blood infections that hit nearly 60 long-term care facilities on the East Coast last year have been traced back to contaminated saline flush syringes, researchers announced last week.

Speaking at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's Epidemic Intelligence Service Conference, CDC researchers confirmed that their investigation into the outbreak of Burkholderia cepacia led back to contaminated flushes made by one manufacturer.

The CDC's surveillance for additional cases of the infection, which was found in more than 160 residents across 59 facilities, is ongoing, researchers said. To date the infection has been linked to 7 deaths, although it's unknown whether these were caused by Burkholderia cepacia or other conditions.

“This investigation demonstrates the need for us to be able to better track compounded medications and medical devices, including saline flush syringes, throughout the manufacturing and distribution process, up to the point at which they are given to individual patients,” researcher Richard B. Brooks, M.D., MPH, told Infectious Disease News.