-- Robert Preidt
FRIDAY, April 6 (HealthDay News) -- So-called robotic drug
dispensers can be contaminated with dangerous bacteria, a new
During routine screening, staffers at Wake Forest Baptist
Medical Center in North Carolina discovered
Bacillus cereus bacteria in drug samples dispensed by a robot
used to prepare intravenous medications in a sterile
This potentially harmful type of bacteria is resistant to many
commonly used disinfectants, including alcohol. Contamination of
intravenous drugs with this bacteria can cause serious problems,
including potentially life-threatening bloodstream infections in
patients, the study authors said.
In this case, which occurred in 2010, no patients were harmed,
the researchers said.
Further investigation traced the contamination to the machine's
washing station and its associated tubing. This washing station is
not considered a sterile part of the robot and the manufacturer
does not specify a formal cleaning and maintenance procedure, the
study authors noted.
They suggested that the current cleaning and maintenance
recommendations for the robot need to be strengthened.
"To our knowledge, this is the first published report of a pharmacy robot being contaminated with Bacillus with resultant contamination of intravenous drug
product," the study authors wrote.
They said their findings highlight the importance of routine
screening of medication prepared by robotic dispensers, which are
becoming increasingly common in hospitals.
The study appeared in the journal
Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology.
For more on
Bacillus cereus visit the
U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
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