DOH Warns Against Serratia-Contaminated Syringes
Florida Department of Health (DOH) is investigating an outbreak of blood infections associated with pre-filled syringes contaminated with the bacteria Serratia marcescens. Patients use these syringes, containing the blood thinner heparin, at home to flush and prevent clotting in IV lines and catheters. Investigation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has shown that some Sierra pre-filled Heparin flushes with lot #070926H are contaminated with this organism.
Florida was one of the states that received the contaminated syringes, and cases have been confirmed in several counties, including Escambia, Duval, Volusia, Hillsborough, Palm Beach, and Polk. The number of counties with cases is likely to increase as public health officials continue this outbreak investigation.
The Department of Health particularly stresses the importance of preventing future infections by raising awareness of the tainted product. The DOH Bureau of Epidemiology has contacted hospital infection control professionals, county health departments, and eight distributors who serve the state.
The distributors of the drug have voluntarily agreed to discontinue release of the drug and have contacted their clients who may have received tainted product. Individuals who may have used lot #070926H of the Sierra pre-filled heparin flush should immediately stop using the flush and contact their healthcare provider for a replacement supply. Additionally, they should seek immediate medical attention if they develop a fever or other signs of an infection.