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Consider Risk of MRSA from Unsafe Injections

Move over hepatitis B, C, and HIV, and make room for MRSA infections as a consequence of unsafe injection practices.

A recent post on the CDC Safe Healthcare blog by Dr. Michael Bell, associate director for infection control at the Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion, discusses two recent outbreaks in Arizona and Delaware where the use of medication from single-dose/single-use vials for multiple patients resulted in "staph/MRSA infections in at least 10 patients receiving injections for pain relief."

Bell writes: "These breaches resulted in life-threatening, yet completely preventable, infection in a number of patients receiving injections for pain relief. How does this happen in today's advanced medical settings?"

Infections resulting in hospitalizations from the unsafe practices included, "mediastinitis, bacterial meningitis, epidural abscess, septic arthritis, bursitis, and sepsis, all severe infections caused by either Staphylococcus aureus (Staph) or its drug-resistant form MRSA," according to Bell.

The CDC report says that the outpatient clinics where the outbreaks occurred may have deviated from recommended practices because of difficulty "in obtaining appropriate vial sizes, either because of a national drug shortage or because the vial size needed by healthcare providers was not manufactured."