B. Cereus…. contaminated alcohol swabs, pads & swabsticks?

The FDA released this alert a few days ago:

Triad Group Issues a Voluntary Nationwide Recall of All Lots of Alcohol Prep Pads, Alcohol Swabs, and Alcohol Swabsticks Due to Potential Microbial Contamination

What??? Are you serious? We use these products to disinfect areas such as skin, injection ports, connectors, etc… prior to injection or venipuncture or entry and if contaminated can introduce bacteria into the patients.

The products, sterile and non-sterile forms made by Triad Group have been recalled because of possible contamination by Bacillus cereus bacteria. This recall has been initiated due to concerns from a customer about potential contamination of the products with the bacteria following  a non-life threatening skin infection. The company, out of an abundance of caution, are recalling these lots to ensure that they are not the source of these contamination issues.

The products were all manufactured by Triad Group but have been marketed in the U.S., Canada, and Europe under a number of different labels, including:

  • Cardinal Health
  • PSS Select
  • VersaPro
  • Boca/Ultilet
  • Moore Medical
  • Walgreens
  • CVS
  • Conzellin

The products are sold in boxes and are also packaged with other products such as central line dressing change kits, IV insertion kits, and self injection kits  for medications like Extavia (interferon beta-1b) by Novatis, and Betaseron (interferon beta-1b) by Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals and others. It is also important to note that alcohol with B. cereus, can contaminate specimens collected for microbiological cultures.

Although B. cereus is normally associated with food poisoning, other infections caused by these bacteria have been documented in patients with weak immune systems, such as cancer patients or patients that have had surgery…in other words, the patients who we use alcohol swabs, pads, or swabsticks.

Perhaps thinking that outbreaks from contamination from antiseptics and disinfectants can’t possibly happen, think again, there are articles that have described Bacillus cereus found in alcohol used for disinfection.

What to do next?

  • Check your alcohol prep pads/swabsticks/swabs. If you have the recalled products, call the Triad Group Customer Service Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:30 A.M. and 4:00 P.M. Central Time:  262.538.2900.  They will issue you a return authorization number and make all return arrangements.
  • Check your pre-packaged kits too. For patients with self injection kits with the contaminated alcohol pad, according to Novartis and Bayer, do not use the alcohol pad but the rest of the items in the kit should be safe to use.
  • Take a proactive approach, if you think you have used any of these products prior to this recall, monitor the patients closely.

3 thoughts on “B. Cereus…. contaminated alcohol swabs, pads & swabsticks?

  1. Pingback: Latest-Report.com

  2. When shopping at a grocery store yesterday (at which I’m registered for bonus points, & “regular customer” discounts), my receipt included a warning notice re: a product I’d purchased there at last visit, a couple of weeks ago — alcohol swabs. Sure enough, the UPC code – 1 1 1 1 0 79449- on box of (Kroger Isopropyl) matched the item of concern – possibly contaminated with Bacillus CEREUS. Before calling the phone number given, I looked up (on Google) info on this strain of Bacillus, its known sources and symptoms. Then I looked up the link to alcohol swabs and found your article. After reading to the bottom, where it cautions medical personnel who’ve used the suspected product on patients, to monitor the patients closely. I would like to know what symptoms those of us who’ve used this product at home should be alert to, and report to their doctors.
    One member of our family was visiting for Christmas holidays and bought this packet only a day before flying home. He uses swabs for daily testing of blood sugar and insulin injections. Two days later, he told me he was experiencing symptoms of food poisoning.
    My daughter just used one yesterday to cleanse a small infected area on her skin that had some bleeding.
    Now that I’ve read this report, I’ve shared the info with her and next will call to notify him to stop using. Perhaps he left the rest of those in his travel bag and switched to supply in his bathroom cabinet. However, if he’s been using the rest of this packet and tells me he’s been continuing to have those symptoms of unusual intestinal distress, to whom shall we report it (besides his doctor). None of us wants food-poisoning, but diabetics with unstable blood sugar can easily suffer complications from diahrrea or vomiting.
    Please advise any precautions or should I say post-cautionary measures.
    Thankyou for your consideration.


  3. Thank you for your comment. According to the FDA alert on this recall:
    Adverse reactions or quality problems experienced with the use of this product may be reported to the FDA’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program either online, by regular mail or by fax.

    * Online:http://www.fda.gov/MedWatch/report.htm9
    * Regular Mail: use postage-paid, pre-addressed Form FDA 3500 available at: http://www.fda.gov/MedWatch/getforms.htm10 Mail to address on the pre-addressed form.
    * Fax: 1-800-FDA-0178

    All the best,

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