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Moisturiser caused ICU bacteria infections

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Bacteria living in moisturising body milk could cause life-threatening infections in ICU patients, according to research.
Findings were based on an outbreak in an intensive care unit in Spain where five patients became infected with the bacterium Burkholderia cepacia over a period of 18 days.

In three cases, the bacterium caused bacteraemia and it was also responsible for a lower respiratory tract infection and a urinary tract infection.

After patients were isolated, samples were taken from patients and also antiseptics, eau de Cologne and moisturising body milk available in treatment carts at that time were collected and cultured.

B. cepacia was found to be living in three samples of the moisturising body mile that had been applied to the patients.

After the cream was withdrawn from all hospitalisation units, no new cases of the infection developed.

Authors wrote: 'The epidemiological chain began with the contamination of the lotion during manufacturing, transportation or storing stages before application of moisturising body milk to patients.

'Then, the hands of nursing personnel transmitted the pathogen to patients, in whom contamination of inert devices (catheters or tubes) or direct administration (skin, wounds, airways) was responsible for severe nosocomial infection.

'In severely ill patients, the presence of bacteria in cosmetic products, even within accepted limits, may lead to severe life-threatening infections.'

Biomed Central Critical Care 2008, 12:R10
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