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This award-winning blog supplements the articles in Hospital Infection Control & Prevention.

CDC emphasizing infection prevention in oncology settings after rare pathogen strikes 15 cancer patients

In light of a recent outbreak in 15 cancer patients of a bacterial species that rarely infects humans, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is emphasizing the guidance in its Basic Infection Control and Prevention Plan for Outpatient Oncology Settings

Infections remain a major cause of morbidity and mortality among cancer patients, who are typically immunosuppressed by both the underlying malignancy and attendant chemotherapy. In addition, cancer patients may have indwelling intravascular access de­vices that increase their risk for infections, many of which may be transmitted in the various health care settings they visit, the CDC notes.

The aforementioned outbreak – which was linked to improper handling of intravenous saline at a West Virginia outpatient oncology clinic -- was the first reported outbreak of Tsukamurella spp., a gram-positive bacteria that rarely cause disease in humans. The report was published in the March issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology .