Burkholderia cepacia

SA Health has identified a cluster of Burkholderia cepacia infections in intensive care patients. It's beleived the infections are linked to a contaminated batch of an oral hygiene product, Chlorofluor Gel.

The product batch was manufactured in November 2015 and while it’s believed the product wasn’t widely distributed in NSW public hospitals, it is widely available in the commercial market.

At this stage no similar cases have been reported outside of South Australia, however there is active surveillance for any cases possibly linked to the cluster. 

Action required 

As part of the multi-state public health investigation of this cluster, NSW Health is requesting diagnostic laboratories to:

Urgently report any new or recent (since 20 June 2016) identifications of B. cepacia from invasive infections (including lower respiratory tract). 

  • Reports of individual cases should be sent to the NSW Health Communicable Disease Branch 
  • If B. cepacia is detected, the isolate should be sent to Pathology West’s ICPMR unit for speciation and genotyping  

Retrospectively review and report any identifications of B. cepacia from clusters of invasive infections in patients who were critically ill, ventilated or immunosuppressed during the period 1 December 2015 - 20 June 2016.  

About the bacteria

Burkholderia cepacia is the name for a group or ‘complex’ of bacteria that can be found in soil and water. 

It poses little medical risk to healthy people. However, people who have certain health problems like weakened immune systems or chronic lung diseases, particularly cystic fibrosis, may be more susceptible to infections.