ALERT: Chemotherapy treatment found to be contaminated

ALERT: Chemotherapy treatment found to be contaminated

Irish cancer patients have been warned of a potentially life-threatening contamination of some chemotherapy treatment.

It is unclear how many patients are involved but they are particularly vulnerable to infection due to a weakened immune system.

The treatments from Fannin Compounding Ltd in Dubiln have been recalled after one of its manufacturing machines was found to be contaminated.

A form of bacteria which can cause potentially fatal non-gastrointestinal-tract infections was discovered.

All medical oncologists have been alerted and patients are being notified today.

The letter sent by Fannins to specialists said it had recalled the treatments on October 12 last and they have now identified the contaminant which affected one of its chemotherapy isolators.

The bacteria is bacillus cereus which is widely found in the environment.

While it is associated mainly with food poisoning it is being increasingly reported to be a cause of serious and potentially fatal non-gastrointestinal-tract infections.

It has been found to affect people whose immune system has been lowered and also newborn babies.

It has also been found to affect patients who have undergone surgery who have wound infections.

The letter said that investigations are ongoing at the plant to see how the problem happened.Immediate corrective actions have been implemented pending the completion of an investigation including putting the machine out of use since the sterility issue was identified