MRSA Infection Caused By Hospital Medicine Reuse

July 13, 2012

SyringeAlthough it may not seem as bad as needle reuse (an illegal practice which sometimes occurs in hospitals that leads to Hep C outbreaks like the one currently seen in New Hampshire), reusing what are supposed to be single use vials carries as much risk.

In Arizona, reusing single-use vials has lead to a small outbreak of MRSA infection, resulting in the death of 1 patient and hospitalization of about ten more, all treated at the same clinic and showing symptoms of septic arthritis or bursitis (inflammation).

We know from drug users that Hepatitis C transmission is incredibly difficult to stop. It can survive outside the body for a long period of time and is easily transferable to other surfaces. That these patients didn’t also contract Hep C is lucky, although the life-threatening severity of their MRSA infections could be considered a worse outcome.

What makes these particular MRSA infections so much more dangerous? The were injected straight into joints and surrounding tissues.

The reason this office was reusing vials meant for one use is surprisingly novel (most Hep C cases involve a drug using hospital employee who “shares” patients needles or medications). The correct size vials were unavailable due to a shortage, and the office was trying to efficiently use larger vials.

The cause of the shortage might be related to new FDA drug manufacturing laws that went into effect last summer. The gist is that approval to manufacture a drug now takes months, meaning that suppliers can’t immediately react to demand.

Just another reminder to support your immune system, especially if you have to go anywhere near a hospital.

What do you think about the risk of Infection—from MRSA, Hep C, or whatever—that hospitals present?

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