Norway experienced the largest Pseudomonas aeruginosa outbreak

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) says the outbreak of Pseudomonas aeruginosa in Norway is finished. The source of the outbreak was believed to be a disposable washcloth that was pre-soaked. 

The outbreak started in October 2021 and ran until May 2022. Till the pseudomonas outbreak lasted, 40 hospitals got involved and over 380 people were infected. The polluted cloth led to nosocomial infection including 8 mortalities. 

Regardless of the fact that the origin of the infection has been identified and removed and the outbreak is now declared over, the institute anticipates additional patients may surface because manifestation can take several months after initial infection. 

The just-concluded Pseudomonas aeruginosa epidemic is the worst of all the cases ever recorded in Norway and the globe. 

More details on the source of infection

The Oslo University Hospital was able to detect the origin of infection on 18th March as ‘Oasis Bedbath, Unperfumed’, a type of wetted disposable washcloth made by Vernacare, England. The hospital immediately discontinued the use of the product. There was a rapid decline in the number of infections as soon as the source of infection was spotted. 

The washcloth was grouped into the category of non-sterile cosmetic products. Therefore, it did not have to measure up to the ideals of drugs and medical equipment. Nevertheless, it is not expected that such products should have pseudomonas. 

Therefore, it is important for hospitals to review how such products are used, particularly among immunocompromised patients, a senior official at FHI said. 

Consequently, the use of that contaminated product and all other similar products was immediately stopped after the Norwegian clinic lab found the same organism in other products. The Norway Food Safety Authority asked the manufacturer to send the outcome of their quality control. This is not the first time that this bacterium is found in the product. The first discovery dates back to September 2021.