UKHSA: Burkholderia cenocepacia outbreak and carbomer containing lubricating eye gel

The Faculty wishes to draw members’ attention to the below Protection Briefing Note from the UKHSA on a Burkholderia cenocepacia outbreak with suspected association with carbomer containing lubricating eye gel.

UKHSA is investigating a novel cluster of Burkholderia cenocepacia involving 20 cases across the UK. Of these cases, 12 (60%) are male, 18 (90%) are adults and two are paediatric patients (age range 6 weeks - 82 years, median 57 years). 14/20 (70%) were critical care inpatients. Two patients have cystic fibrosis (CF). Preliminary epidemiological and microbiological investigations have identified a potential association with carbomer containing lubricating eye gel, though investigations are ongoing, and these findings are not conclusive.

As a precautionary measure, and until further information is available, it is recommended that carbomer containing eye gels are avoided where possible in the following groups: individuals with CF; critical care inpatients; severely immunocompromised inpatients; and patients awaiting lung transplantation. UKHSA is working with NHS England and CF expert stakeholders to issue communications directly to CF patients, who will be directed to their CF Treatment Centres for further clinical advice.

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