Alert No. 133: Chlorhexidine 7,1% digluconate (CHX): Reports of serious eye injury due to errors in administration

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WHO has been made aware of multiple, recent reports of eye injury, including blindness, with the use of chlorhexidine gluconate 7.1%, in nine countries in sub Saharan Africa.

CHX causes serious harm if mistakenly applied to the eyes, resulting in severe eye injuries. Over forty
(40) cases of such incorrect administration are recorded, either as media reports, or in the literature,
since 2015. Injuries associated with both the liquid and gel (ointment) formulations have been reported
when CHX was mistaken for eye drops or ointments.

This Alert is being issued to warn all stakeholders involved in the umbilical cord care
programmes about this potential misadministration and risk of serious injury with CHX. All healthcare
professionals, caregivers and others involved in its distribution, use and / or administration are advised
to take all necessary measures and precautions to ensure its correct use and administration.


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