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Nearly 800 Patients Possibly Exposed to Superbug at Large Los Angeles Hospital

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800 Patients Exposed to Superbug at Los Angeles Hospital

800 Patients Exposed to Superbug at Los Angeles Hospital

Endoscopy procedures at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) hospital may have exposed 179 patients to a multidrug-resistant superbug.

Seven endoscopy patients at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), have been confirmed to have the carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, or CRE, including two who died. The hospital warned 179 more patients that they may have been exposed to CRE and offered them home testing kits that would be analyzed by the hospital system, according to Reuters.

The possible exposures occurred between October and January during procedures involving a specialized endoscope, known as a duodenoscope, that is inserted down the throat to diagnose and treat pancreatic and bile duct diseases, Reuters reported.

Other hospitals around the country have reported exposures from the same type of endoscopes in recent years, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has said it is working with other government agencies and scope manufacturers to minimize the risk to patients. UCLA said it has always sterilized duodenoscopes according to the manufactuer’s standards, but now it is putting the devices through a more rigorous sterilization process, according to Reuters.

The hospital began using both affected scopes in June 2014, UCLA spokeswoman Roxanne Moster told Reuters, and the hospital has since put them aside and will return them to the manufacturer.

UCLA became aware of the infections last month, according to the Los Angeles Times, and the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services and the California Department of Public Health were immediately notified when the bacteria was detected, a UCLA statement viewed by Reuters explained.

Superbugs are difficult to treat because they are resistant to antibiotics. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said the germs could contribute to up to 50 percent of infected patients. The complex design of duodenoscopes makes them difficult to clean. The FDA said it wanted to raise awareness among healthcare professionals that the duodenoscopes are associated with a risk of multidrug-resistant infections, even when a manufacturer’s cleaning instructions are followed correctly. Olympus Corp, Fujifilm and Pentax are the three main manufacturers of duodenoscopes, and their disinfection recommendations were approved by the FDA, according to Reuters.

Eleven patients were treated between 2012 and 2014 at the Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle after contracting multidrug-resistant infections linked to contaminated endoscopes. Dozens of patients were also sickened in Pittsburgh in 2012 and Chicago in 2014. Superbugs are responsible for 23,000 deaths and 2 million illnesses each year in the United States, Reuters reported. disclaimer: This article: Nearly 800 Patients Possibly Exposed to Superbug at Large Los Angeles Hospital was posted on Monday, February 23rd, 2015 at 4:21 pm at and is filed under Medical Device Lawsuits, Other Lawsuits.

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