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Maryland warns against use of Nurse Assist saline-flush syringes
Health, other agencies review possible link between products, blood infections
(October 4, 2016) – The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, in coordination with other state and federal agencies, is investigating a possible link between Nurse Assist pre-filled saline flushes and the development of Burkholderia cepacia bloodstream infections.
Out of an abundance of caution, Health and Mental Hygiene recommends that any healthcare facilities, providers or anyone else who has received Nurse Assist prepackaged, three-, five- and 10-milliliter syringes of saline flush immediately discontinue using and sequester these saline products until further notice. Haltom City, Texas-based Nurse Assist Inc., on a call with multiple states and federal officials this morning, said it would be issuing a voluntary recall of its three-, five- and 10-milliliter saline flush syringes.
The problem in Maryland was first identified after a cluster of patients developed Burkholderia cepacia bloodstream infections while receiving intravenous care using these prepackaged saline flushes from Nurse Assist. Several other states also have identified possible links between the injection of this product and the development of bloodstream infections.
At this time, Health and Mental Hygiene has identified 11 cases among Maryland residents – none of whom has died. No further case information will be released, in the interest of preserving patient confidentiality. All Maryland facilities known to have received these products have been notified and have discontinued their use; however, this is a rapidly evolving situation, and it is possible that other facilities in Maryland also might have received these products. It is not yet known that all affected products have been identified.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC), the effects of Burkholderia cepacia on people “vary widely, ranging from no symptoms at all to serious respiratory infections, especially in patients with cystic fibrosis. … B. cepacia can be resistant to many common antibiotics. Decisions on the treatment of infections with B. cepacia should be made on a case-by-case basis.” If you have received intravenous care with this product and are feeling unwell or have concerns about your health, please contact your medical provider.
Health and Mental Hygiene continues to work with the CDC, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and other states on the response to this outbreak.
Marylanders who need help finding substance-use-disorder treatment resources should visit
or call the Maryland Crisis Hotline, which provides 24/7 support, at 1-800-422-0009. For information on many of the policies currently implemented to fight addiction and overdose in Maryland, see
. If you know of someone in need of treatment for a substance use disorder, treatment facilities can be located by location and program characteristics on our page at
The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is the State agency that protects Maryland’s public health. We work together to promote and improve the health and safety of all Marylanders through disease prevention, access to care, quality management, and community engagement. Stay connected:
201 W. Preston Street, Baltimore, MD 21201-2399
(410) 767-6500 or 1-877-463-3464
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