CDC's Annual Epidemic Intelligence Service Conference
CDC's Annual Epidemic Intelligence Service Conference
May 04, 2019
2 min watch

VIDEO: Bacterial, fungal infections linked to opioid crisis

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ATLANTA — In this video, Kathleen P. Hartnett, PhD, MPH, an Epidemic Intelligence Service officer in the CDC’s Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion, explains an increase in fungal and bacterial infections among people who inject drugs.

From April 1 to June 30, 2017, Hartnett and colleagues investigated an increase in Staphylococcus aureus, Candida species and group A Streptococcus infections among people who inject drugs in western New York.

“We had seen these infections increasing and we wanted to know if it was in part a consequence of the opioid crisis,” Hartnett said.

They identified 112 infected individuals who reported injection drug use and found that 79% of infections were caused by S. aureus, “which really stressed to us that we need more prevention messages so that people know never to inject without first cleaning both their hands and their injection site with either soap or alcohol,” Hartnett said.

Most patients reported using opioids. Harnett and colleagues found that many patients were not offered treatment for their underlying substance use disorder in addition to their infection.

Disclosure: Hartnett reports no relevant financial disclosures.