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CDC Links Injection Practices to Hospitalizations

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, July 16, 2012

Despite aggressive federal campaigns to educate providers about proper needle and syringe use practices, incidents in two states involving 10 patients required hospitalization for treatment of invasive bacterial infections because clinics injected multiple patients with fluids from single-dose vials.

The report was published in the according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

"Although they are very basic injection practices, and practices all healthcare providers should know, we're routinely seeing outbreaks resulting from breaches from these practices," says CDC spokeswoman Rosa Herrera.

But in the two events, which occurred in Delaware and Arizona, one provocation was a shortage of medications. "We were told that recently, due to a shortage, (the clinics) could only get larger single-dose vials," Herrera says. "The patients didn't need all the medication in that large vial size," so the doses were divided among patients.

All too often clinicians aren't aware the vial, or a needle and syringe, might be contaminated "because it looks clear, and the fact that it's not obviously visible may be a barrier."

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