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Experimental confirmation of Serratia marcecsens contamination in multiple-dose vials of heparin-saline solution

Abstract

The initial contamination of heparin-saline solution (HS) in multiple-dose vials (MDVs) by Serratia marcescens was experimentally investigated using various isolates. Isolates I2 and S1 were from blood specimens from patients with a hospital-acquired infection (HAI). Isolates I13 and FHSM9043 were from urine and blood specimens, respectively, from patients without HAI. Isolate I124, with a pulsed-field get electrophoresis pattern identical to that of isolate I2, was from the hospital environment. Viable cells of isolate I2 were carried over into the HS of MDVs when the contaminated rubber septum was pierced with a syringe needle. When the outside surface of the septum was contaminated by inoculating it with wet-cell suspensions in HS or Müller-Hinton broth, the viable cells carried over were detected at a minimum inoculum size (MIS) of 103 s cfu/ml. However, when the surface was contaminated by inoculating it with dry-cell suspensions, the viable cells carried over were detected at an MIS of 107 s cfu/ml. The viable cells in the internal lumen of the needle much more than those on its outside surface spread to the HS of MDVs. For exposures of 24 h and 72 h at 4°C to HS with 1% benzyl alcohol as a preservative in MDVs, viable cells of all isolates tested were detected at MIS values of 1 s and 10 s cfu/ml, respectively, increases three orders of magnitude smaller than those of reference strain IFO3736. These results suggest that S. marcescens isolates are readily carried over into the HS of MDVs by piercing a wet, contaminated rubber septum with a syringe needle. Also, despite the sterilization action of 1% benzyl alcohol, the organism persistently survived at 4°C, even when initial contamination was with a small amount of inoculum.

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Correspondence to Kenji Marumo.

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Marumo, K., Taguchi, K., Oniki, H. et al. Experimental confirmation of Serratia marcecsens contamination in multiple-dose vials of heparin-saline solution. J Infect Chemother 10, 288–292 (2004). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10156-004-0342-2

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10156-004-0342-2

Key words

  • Multiple-dose vials (MDVs)
  • Serratia marcescens
  • Heparin-saline solution (HS)
  • Hospital infection