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Salmonella Septicemia from Platelet Transfusions: Study of an Outbreak Traced to a Hematogenous Carrier of Salmonella cholerae-suis

FRANK S. RHAME, M.D.; RICHARD K. ROOT, M.D.; JAMES D. MacLOWRY, M.D.; THOBURN A. DADISMAN, M.D.; and JOHN V. BENNETT, M.D.
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Presented in part 22 October 1971 at the 11th International Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Alexander D. Langmuir Prize Manuscript for 1972, selected by the Epidemic Intelligence Service Alumni.

▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to John V. Bennett, M.D., Chief, Bacterial Diseases Branch, Epidemiology Program, Center for Disease Control, Atlanta, GA 30333.


Atlanta, Georgia, and Bethesda, Maryland


Ann Intern Med. 1973;78(5):633-641. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-78-5-633
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Between 12 August 1970 and 3 February 1971, seven cases of Salmonella cholerae-suis septicemia occurred in immunologically compromised patients hospitalized at the Clinical Center of the National Institutes of Health. One patient died, and two had long-term recurrences. Epidemiologic evidence implicated platelets as the common source, and one donor who donated to all seven patients was detected. S. cholerae-suis of the epidemic strain was isolated from the donor's plasma on three occasions. Clinical evaluation of the donor showed chronic osteomyelitis of the tibia. Thirty-four patients received platelets from this donor during the epidemic period, and a chart review showed a probable additional case of S. cholerae-suis septicemia. The most significant difference between patients who became ill and those who had no septicemia was coincidental administration of antibiotics to the latter group after transfusion with the contaminated platelets.

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