• Fri, Apr 20 2012

Bacteria Contaminated Ultrasound Gel Is Scary–And Gross

If you are due for an ultrasound, make sure the gel being used is not contaminated by bacteria. The FDA just instructed U.S. Marshals to raid a New Jersey plant that produces ultrasound transmission gel after they found it contained a dangerous bacteria.

Product lots of Other-Sonic Generic Ultrasound Transmission Gel, manufactured by Pharmaceutical Innovations Inc. apparently contained two bacteria strains that may cause infection, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Klebsiella oxytoca. According to the FDA, 16 patients undergoing heart valve replacement surgery who were given this particular brand of gel became infected with Pseudomonas aeruginosa already.

What makes this so scary is that this gel is used on millions of American men and women who undergo ultrasound diagnostic tests to evaluate everything the health of our liver, kidney, heart, ovaries and other organs to the health of an unborn baby during pregnancy.

Dara A. Corrigan, the FDA’s associate commissioner for regulatory affairs told CBS news that this contaminated gel poses a number of health threats:

This ultrasound gel presented serious health risks to patients, particularly vulnerable ones. Therefore, FDA, with the assistance of our state partner, is taking aggressive enforcement action to protect the public health.

Infections from the use of this gel could lead to pneumonia, urinary tract infections and bacteremia (bacteria in the blood).

Most of us would probably never think that this gel could pose such a risk to our health, but apparently it can. It’s just gross and scary to think that such dangerous bacteria could enter our bodies and our bloodstream from a simple, routine test.

Be sure to ask your doctor what brand of gel is being used if you have an ultrasound coming up and make sure it’s not the Other-Sonic Generic Ultrasound Transmission Gel.

 

Photo: Thinkstock

 

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