Heparin and saline syringes under investigation after blood infections confirmed in 4 states.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed that blood infections in 14 children across four states are all caused by the same strain of the Serratia marcescens bacterium. All of the infections occurred in seriously ill children being treated with intravenous drugs delivered through catheters or central lines. The 14 confirmed infections were reported in Tennessee, Colorado, Minnesota and Ohio.
Health agencies and officials began testing products from manufacturer Becton Dickinson after it was discovered that the infected children had been treated with the company’s syringes and/or catheters.
What is Serratia marcescens bacterium?
Dr. Amesh Adalja, an infectious disease expert at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, said Serratia marcescens is found in the environment and is a common cause of bloodstream infections in hospitals.
“What’s dangerous is when it’s in something that’s being directly injected into a person,” he said. “That bacteria doesn’t have to go through any kind of barrier. It’s a superhighway into the bloodstream.”
Response from manufacturer Becton Dickinson.
Becton Dickinson said in a statement that they are cooperating with health regulators. Initial tests did not reveal the presence of the bacterium in any of the syringes tested.
Last month, the company recalled almost 1,000 lots of its BD PosiFlush Pre-Filled Heparin Lock Flush Syringes and Pre-Filled Normal Saline saline flush syringes sold between February and December 2017 out of “an abundance of caution.”
“The company immediately initiated an internal investigation after being notified of a potential connection between catheter-related blood stream infections and the Serratia marcescens bacterium,” Becton Dickinson officials said in an emailed statement.
BD spokesman Troy Kirkpatrick said the company had checked records from its sterility testing, environmental testing and clean room validation and stated “to date, no BD flush product has ever tested positive for this bacterium.”
Dr. Kiran Mayi Perkins of the CDC’s Public Health Program, who is leading the investigation, said if there is contamination, it’s “probably a very low amount,” which makes it very hard to test for.
Did you or your child suffer a blood infection after a hospital stay?
If you or your loved one suffer from a Serratia marcescens bacterial infection after being treated with a saline or heparin syringe from BD, Becton Dickinson? If so, please contact the justice attorneys at Aylstock, Witkin, Kreis & Overholtz today at (844) 794-7402.