Published On: Wed, Nov 30th, 2016

CDC Links Contaminated Syringes to South Jersey Bacterial Infections

The Center for Disease Control has found a link between contaminated medical supplies and a bacterial infection outbreak in South Jersey. The outbreak led to complicated bacterial infections in 10 individuals in Atlantic County and 3 in Ocean County, New Jersey.

Saline flushes manufactured by a Texas company has been linked to 52 B. cepacia infections in the Garden State.

Long-term health care facilities received a warning and alert from the Department of Health over syringes manufactured by Nurse Assist. The bacteria is not dangerous to healthy people, according to the CDC, but patients with weakened immune systems or certain diseases are susceptible to infections.

Public domain photo/Psychonaught

Public domain photo/Psychonaught

The symptoms include: fever, shortness of breath, increased heart rate, sweats, disorientation and chills.

A representative for the Department of Health says “this is a continuing investigation.” The discontinuation of the syringes in question is urged by officials. Cases of infection started in Bergen County in long-term care facilities.

The outbreak is confined to 19 facilities in the states.

Contamination spread to surrounding states in the Northeast. A total of 55 cases in New York have been reported as well as cases in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Delaware. A recall was issued by Nurse Assist on October 4.

All 3mL, 5mL and 10mL intravenous flush syringes were voluntarily recalled. The units in question were distributed between February 16 and September 19. The bacteria is found in water and soil.

“It will be interesting to find out how the syringes became tainted,” stated a representative for AvaCare Medical. “Medical supply manufacturers are under strict regulations to prevent potential contamination.”

  1. cepacia is difficult to treat, albeit uncommon. The infection can resist common antibiotics, causing treatment routes to be difficult. Aggressive treatment is administered in the first 24 hours before the determination of antibiotic resistance.

Six people died in total in New York and Pennsylvania, but health officials are unsure if infection or underlying issues killed the victims. No-long term side effects are experienced if treatment is successful.

If the virus enters the bloodstream, it can take up to a month for full recovery.

The outbreak was halted through rapid response from the CDC. The agency quickly identified the source of the bacteria and was able to remove the source from the market to stop further spread of infection.

Lawyers are lining up to take cases for anyone that was impacted by the tainted needles.

No comment on possible penalties or legal action against the manufacturer have been made at this time.

Author: Jacob Maslow

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