Begin Main Content Area

 PA.Media.BreadCrumbs - MediaBreadCrumbs

Media > Health > Details

Department of Health Investigating 20 Cases of Bacterial Infection Potentially Linked to Prefilled Saline Flush Syringes


Harrisburg, PA – The Department of Health has identified 20 cases of Burkholderia cepacia (B. cepacia) in Pennsylvania residents that may be linked to prefilled saline flush syringes. The department is working with other state and federal agencies to investigate the multi-state outbreak, and is looking into possible additional cases. The department is unable to release case-specific information due to the Pennsylvania Disease Prevention and Control Law.


The situation was first identified when a cluster of patients in a Maryland nursing home developed B. cepacia blood stream infections while receiving intravenous (IV) care. Pennsylvania and several other states have also identified an association between prefilled saline flush syringes and the development of blood stream infections. 


Although investigators have been unable to pinpoint the exact source of these illnesses, each patient resided in a facility using prefilled syringes of saline flush made by Nurse Assist, a Haltom City, Texas production facility. The Pennsylvania Department of Health tested a sample of these syringes and identified contamination with B. cepacia. All facilities known to have received this product have been notified and have discontinued use. The department is working to identify if any other facilities are using Nurse Assist prefilled saline flushes.


On October 4, 2016, Nurse Assist issued a voluntary recall of 3, 5, and 10 milliliter prefilled saline flush syringes. The Department of Health recommends that any health care facility, provider, or anyone else who has received these products immediately discontinues use and sequesters all product until further notice.


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the symptoms of B. cepacia infection vary widely, ranging from no symptoms at all to serious respiratory infections, especially in patients with cystic fibrosis. B. cepacia can also be resistant to many common antibiotics. Individuals who have received IV care with a Nurse Assist product and have questions or concerns should contact their medical provider.


The Department of Health continues to work with the CDC, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and other states on the response to this outbreak.


MEDIA CONTACT: April Hutcheson, 717-787-1783


# # #​

 Content Editor

 PA.AgencyPortal.Media - MediaPageTitle