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CDC, FDA Investigate Multistate B. cepacia Outbreak

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), along with several state and local health departments, are investigating a multistate outbreak of Burkholderia cepacia (B. capacia) infections.

B. cepacia is a group of bacteria found in soil and water that often is resistant to common antibiotics. Individuals with weakened immune systems or chronic lung diseases, particularly cystic fibrosis, are especially susceptible to these bacteria. However, most cases within recent clusters have occurred in patients without cystic fibrosis.

In a statement, CDC warned that health care providers should avoid using liquid docusate products on critically ill, ventilated, or immunosuppresed patients following multiple reports of infection clusters in pediatric intensive care units. One state has reported a possible link to a contaminated liquid docusate product based on preliminary data, according to the statement.

CDC, FDA, and health departments are working to determine whether reported clusters of the infection have a common source. So far, isolates from at least two states have matching strain types.

Clusters should be reported directly to the CDC at or to local or state health departments. Questions can also be directed to CDC at

Contact Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at or 202.585.0127 with questions.



About the Author

Rachel Schwartz is a former policy associate at America's Essential Hospitals.

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