Multistate gel-associated outbreak places CDC spotlight on ultrasound infection prevention practices

By Lia Moshkanbaryans, PhD

A multistate gel-associated outbreak of Burkholderia cepacia, which included 48 bloodstream infections, has resulted in a call to action from the U.S. CDC and FDA on ultrasound gel use and ultrasound probe reprocessing this August.

Patients who have developed infections likely underwent ultrasound-guided transcutaneous procedures such as paracentesis and central intravenous catheter placements, according to the CDC. 

The CDC has advised single-use sterile ultrasound gel should be used in preparation for or during ultrasound guided transcutaneous procedures, including avoiding the use of nonsterile ultrasound gel for visualisation prior to these procedures.  CDC has also advised healthcare facilities should review their ultrasound probe reprocessing practices, ensuring alignment with manufacturer instructions for use and appropriate professional society guidelines.

Preventing ultrasound associated infection risk in clinical procedures is essential for patient safety. Applying the Spaulding classification to probe reprocessing prior to every procedure can help facilities mitigate this risk.

Learn more about National health authority & society guidelines on the Spaulding Classification

Read the Public Health England guidance on using ultrasound gel

Read about the gel-associated outbreak from the CDC

Lia Moshkanbaryans, PhD is the global clinical communications manager at Nanosonics Ltd


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