CDC emphasizes infection control during spinal procedures

Healthcare providers should follow established infection-control recommendations during spinal procedures, including the use of a mask and adherence to aseptic technique, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the January 29 issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).

The CDC issued the reminder because two small clusters of bacterial meningitis after spinal anesthesia occurred during 2008-09 even though the Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee issued related infection-control recommendations in 2007. The clusters involved three cases in New York and two in Ohio. All five female patients received intrapartum spinal anesthesia, and four of the five were confirmed to have Streptococcus salivarius meningitis.

The two cases of bacterial meningitis in Ohio occurred at Mary Rutan Hospital in Bellefontaine, reports the Columbus Dispatch. The patients, one of whom died, both delivered babies at the hospital on May 21, 2009. The CDC confirmed that the anesthesiologist at Mary Rutan was a carrier. Changes made at the hospital as a result of these cases include requiring hospital workers to wear masks when they are within two arms' length of patients during spinal procedures.

To learn more about the CDC recommendations:
- read the MMWR
- read the Dispatch article