Contaminated intravenous feeding bags have caused the death of nine patients in Alabama, confirmed the Alabama Department of Public Health.
An outbreak of Serratia marcescens
infections at six Alabama hospitals related to an IV feeding product called TPN (total parenteral nutrition) claimed nine casualties, leaving ten others very sick. A life-threatening bloodstream infection was caused by bacteria in the contaminated TPN IV. The bags were traced to the single manufacturer, Meds IV in Birmingham, who has withdrawn all stocks and has stopped production.
Dr. Donald E. Williamson, the state health officer reports that it is a product-associated incident. The state health department, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and the Food and Drug Administration are investigating.
Dr. Williamson has also stated that the deaths have not been established as having occurred because of bacterial infection, although it is true the bags were contaminated. He makes the point that patients receiving TPN usually suffer from nutritional deficiency due to surgery, or cancer, or burns, or some other condition that's keeping them from getting adequate nutrition. They are at high risk anyway. So, a thorough investigation is necessary to arrive at a conclusion.
Meanwhile, Dr. Williamson has applauded the quick efforts that have gone in to end the risk. "This is actually the way the system should work," he said. "In this case, a couple of hospitals identified that they were seeing what they perceived to be an unusual number of cases of serratia marcescens bacteremia. When they saw that, they contacted us and the CDC and we contacted the CDC and very quickly you got the shutoff of the production of the product, the cessation of use of the product and then you quickly got an investigation done to identify both what the most likely source was as well as where the source came from and some idea of the magnitude of the problem."