On July 13, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released a report detailing two life-threatening outbreaks that occurred when healthcare providers used medication from single-dose/single-use vials for multiple patients undergoing treatment for pain. At least 10 patients contracted severe staph or MRSA infections and had to be hospitalized. An additional patient died, and although MRSA was not listed as the cause of death, it could not be ruled out.
These breaches of basic infection control practices are a stark reminder that CDC recommendations for injection safety must be followed closely with every patient, even during times of medication shortages. In circumstances when individually packaged and appropriately sized single-dose/single-use vials are unavailable (e.g., during national shortage) contents from unopened vials can be packaged into multiple single-use vehicles, provided that the repackaging is performed in accordance with all standards in United States Pharmacopeia General Chapter <797 >.
The CDC encourages clinicians to double check their practices against CDC’s Injection Safety Recommendations. In addition, CDC offers healthcare providers a toolkit featuring a narrated PowerPoint presentation that is ideal for staff meetings, seminars, and other education opportunities.