30 Mar 2012

No contamination of organ fluid in NZ

8:41 pm on 30 March 2012

The Medical Safety Unit of the Ministry of Health, MedSafe, says it has been assured the fluid used to store and transport some donor organs in New Zealand is not contaminated with bacteria.

The solution, known as viaspan, is used to preserve liver, pancreas and bowel tissue and tests in Britain have found Bacillus cereus in the solution used to test the sterility of fluid.

The BBC reports that an investigation has now been launched to see if the viaspan itself is contaminated as well.

Medsafe says the manufacturer, Bristol Meyers-Squibb, has told it there are no stocks of the affected batch in New Zealand.

Chief pharmacist at Auckland Hospital, Sarah Fitt, says it is aware of the batch that is under quarantine in Britain and it is not in New Zealand.

She says there has been no official notification about the issue by either Bristol Meyers or MedSafe but the hospital has been monitoring the situation in case it becomes a global recall.