The CDC is urging emergency rooms around the country to be on the lookout for internal injuries that may be caused by accidental ingestion of wire grill-cleaning brush bristles.
The injuries ranged in severity from a puncture in the neck tissue that caused pain while swallowing to a perforations in the gastrointestinal tract that required emergency surgery.
One of the cases described in the report is of a 50-year-old man who went to the emergency room with abdominal pain after eating steak at a barbecue. A CT scan of the man's abdomen revealed a linear object poking through the wall of his small intestine (picture above). Doctors removed the bristle with a laparotomy - a large incision in the abdomen for exploratory surgery - and he recovered fully and left the hospital the following day.
The CDC warns doctors that the bristles are small and can be tough to see on X-rays and scans, so greater awareness of such injuries among emergency room physicians, internists and radiologists might help improved diagnoses.
he CDC didn't have information on the types or brands of grill-cleaning brushes, and as such won't make safety recommendations about which type of brush may reduce risk.