Update on Burkholderia cepacia complex infection (with photo)

     The Department of Health (DH) today (September 20) announced an update on its investigations into the cluster of Burkholderia cepacia complex infection and further urged members of the public not to use a product named CANCARE AntiSept Solution (see photo) for wound care as it may be contaminated by bacteria.
     As at 4pm today, the DH's Centre for Health Protection has recorded no additional patients being affected under the cluster. Meanwhile, the DH received the latest notification from the Hospital Authority that apart from the aqueous chlorhexidine products named Pro-Medi Prosept and Kam’s KS-MED announced earlier, another product named CANCARE AntiSept Solution also tested positive for Burkholderia cepacia complex.
     The product is distributed by C & L Pharmaceutical Ltd. The DH has conducted an inspection at the company today, during which samples of the product were collected for analytical tests. C & L Pharmaceutical Ltd voluntarily recalls the affected product from the market and has also set up a hotline (2475 9168) to answer related enquiries.
     CANCARE AntiSept Solution contains 0.05 per cent chlorhexidine, which is not classified as a pharmaceutical product under the Pharmacy and Poisons Ordinance (Cap 138).
     Currently, products containing a low concentration of chlorhexidine not labelled for use on broken skin or wound care are not classified as pharmaceutical products under the Ordinance. Nevertheless, the DH has strengthened market surveillance and collected products containing a low concentration of chlorhexidine from different brands for micro-organism tests in batches. The tests will take about a few weeks and results will be announced as soon as possible.
     Currently, the following three antiseptic products are being recalled:
Distributor Product name Hotline
Sources (U.S.A.) Medicines Ltd Pro-Medi Prosept solution 2411 3463
Kam Sing Medicine Co. Kam's KS-MED solution 2392 7537
C & L Pharmaceutical Ltd CANCARE AntiSept Solution 2475 9168
     The DH's investigations are still on-going.
     "Members of the public, especially those who have a weakened immune system, such as renal patients, should pay extra attention to personal hygiene. Registered pharmaceutical products should be used and instructions given by healthcare professionals should be followed if they need to carry out wound care on their own. Antiseptic products not indicated for wound care should not be used for that purpose or on broken skin. The public should seek medical advice if in doubt," a spokesman for the DH said.
     "According to the Infection Control Guidelines on Nephrology Services in Hong Kong, sterile solution of 0.9 per cent sodium chloride or antiseptic solution (e.g. aqueous chlorhexidine 0.05 per cent) can be used for peritoneal catheter exit site cleansing," the spokesman said.
     "Normal saline (solution of 0.9 per cent sodium chloride) is a commonly used cleansing fluid. As it is similar to human body fluid, it does not irritate wound tissues and causes less pain when applied. Antiseptics may irritate the wound or cause an allergic reaction. Generally, a non-infected wound could be cleansed with normal saline and antiseptics are not required, while an infected wound must be managed according to a doctor's instructions," the spokesman added. For more information on wound care, please visit www.elderly.gov.hk/english/healthy_ageing/home_safety/wound_care.html.
     Members of the public can refer to the appendix for information on registered antiseptic pharmaceutical products containing chlorhexidine as well as sterile saline solution for irrigation. All registered pharmaceutical products should carry a Hong Kong registration number on the package in the format of "HK-XXXXX". People should seek advice from healthcare professionals before using pharmaceutical products.
     Meanwhile, the Pharmacy and Poisons Board of Hong Kong today held a meeting during which members reviewed the current classification of antiseptic products containing a low concentration of chlorhexidine under the Ordinance. Members decided to review, making reference to overseas regulatory practice of such antiseptic products, and consider whether such consumer goods should be regulated as registered pharmaceutical products.

Ends/Friday, September 20, 2019
Issued at HKT 20:12