NYSDOH Investigating Cause of Bloodstream Infections in Long Term Care Facilities

ALBANY, N.Y. (October 4, 2016) - The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) is investigating 34 cases of bloodstream infections that may be associated with intravenous medications or intravenous flushes.NYSDOH has learned that 54 long term care facilities obtained the potentially contaminated products from two companies, one of which provides pharmacy services to nursing home facilities in the NYC region, and a second that manufactures medical products including saline flushes.

NYS Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said, "As soon as we learned about the potential contamination we immediately notified the 54 impacted long term care facilities that received medications or flushes from one or both of those companies, and advised them to inform their patients who could have been exposed to the bacteria. We also instructed the facilities to refrain from using certain intravenous products, and have helped them to locate necessary medical supplies to maintain services and protect the health of their patients. We areworking closely with our federal partners and with other affected states to investigate and address this emergency."

The infections have been caused by Burkholderia cepacia, a bacteria that poses little medical risk to healthy people. However, people who have certain health problems, such as weakened immune systems or chronic lung diseases may be more susceptible to infections with Burkholderia cepacia, which is a known cause of infections in hospitalized patients.

Additional bloodstream infections that appear to be associated with these potentially contaminated products are being investigated in Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. NYSDOH is working collaboratively with officials from those states, and with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration.

NYSDOH has also briefed County Health Commissioners and issued a health advisory to hospitals and long term care facilities in the downstate region to identify and report to NYSDOH any additional bloodstream infections that may be associated with these products. Facilities have also been asked to report any medications, intravenous flushes, or other intravenous products that may have been contaminated, and to retain those products until further notice.