In October 1980, two units of blood contaminated with Pseudomonas fluorescens caused septic transfusion reactions in two recipients at a Chicago hospital; one patient died. Both units had been purchased from the same blood center. Investigation at the blood center and at other hospitals it supplied revealed another fatal case of P. fluorescens sepsis that had occurred one year earlier. Despite extensive environmental culturing at the blood center, the source of P. fluorescens was not identified. However, comparison of the interval between collection and administration of contaminated and non-contaminated units indicated that prolonged storage was a risk factor that may have caused clustering of cases in one hospital. Laboratory studies showed that small inocula of P. fluorescens proliferated in refrigerated fresh whole blood and reached 10(6) to 10(7) colony-forming units per milliliter seven days after incubation. These data suggest that prolonged storage of blood may be an important risk factor for the development of transfusion-related sepsis.
Khabbaz RF, Arnow PM, Highsmith AK, Herwaldt LA, Chou T, Jarvis WR, Lerche NW, Allen JR
Am. J. Med. 1984 Jan;76(1):62-8