A probe by the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) into the mass sepsis infection at a Seoul-based dermatology clinic revealed the presence of Gram-negative bacteria called Pantoea agglomerans.
P. agglomerans is a ubiquitous bacteria commonly isolated from plants, seeds, fruits, and animal feces.
The bacterium was found in five out of 20 patients who were infected with sepsis and displayed symptoms of fever, dizziness, and drop in blood pressure last Monday.
The same bacteria were also found in an unused bottle of Propofol, and the needles used to administer Propofol, general anesthesia and sedation therapy.
The KCDC said in a statement that it suspects a single infectious agent considering the mass sepsis infection and the single genotype of the P. agglomerans bacteria found.
Local reports first found 13 out of 20 patients getting treated at the dermatology clinic began showing signs of sepsis. Around 20 patients moved to a nearby hospital.
The KCDC said 14 patients had been discharged since while six remained at a general hospital. One patient is residing in the intensive care unit, according to the agency.
"We are conducting a comprehensive epidemiological investigation such as completing a microbiological examination of the patients, drugs, and the environment as well as confirming medical records to identify various infectious pathways and agents,” the KCDC said in a statement.