Contaminated cosmetics may prove life-threatening for patients

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London, Jan 31: The next time you use a moisturiser, make sure it is sterile as a study found that it is a potential carrier of bugs particularly harmful for those already undergoing treatment in hospital. Five intensive care patients in a Spanish hospital contracted a life-threatening infection after they were applied with a milk moisturiser. ''Moisturising body milk is a potential source of infection.

In severely ill patients, the presence of bacteria in cosmetic products, even within accepted limits, may lead to severe life-threatening infections,'' researchers led by Dr Francisco Alvarez-Lerma from the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona wrote in the journal Critical Care. They strongly recommended not to use cosmetic products on patients which could not be guaranteed as sterile. Doctors traced the outbreak to a moisturising body milk used in the patients' care. Containers of the product had been contaminated with a bacteria called Burkholderia cepacia before they were opened.

Though the bug pose a little risk to healthy people, it can be dangerous to patients with weak immune system.B. cepacia is stubbornly resistant to antimicrobial agents and antiseptics and able to survive in a wide variety of hospital environments, the authors wrote. Often the bug is transmitted via contaminated respiratory equipment, disinfectants, blood analysers and running water supplies.


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