Since 1987, the Centers for Disease Control investigated six cases of transfusion-associated sepsis. All six patients developed septic shock after receiving units of packed erythrocytes (PRBCs) contaminated with Yersinia enterocolitica (five patients) and Enterobacter agglomerans (one patient); three of the blood recipients died. We studied the growth and endotoxin production of Y. enterocolitica and E. agglomerans in units of PRBCs stored at 4 degrees C for 60 days. When PRBCs were inoculated with 0.1 to 1.0 CFU of these organisms per ml, both Y. enterocolitica and E. agglomerans entered log-phase growth 2 to 3 weeks after inoculation; generation times were 15 and 22 h, respectively. Endotoxin was first detected at 3 weeks following inoculation, and the concentration paralleled the log phase of growth of the strains tested. These data show that prolonged storage of PRBCs at 4 degrees C provides conditions that allow these two organisms to grow and subsequently produce high concentrations of endotoxin.
Arduino MJ, Bland LA, Tipple MA, Aguero SM, Favero MS, Jarvis WR
J. Clin. Microbiol. 1989 Jul;27(7):1483-5