UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, California, has reported the likelihood of 180 patients being exposed to a deadly “superbug.” The transmission occurred during endoscopic procedures as two endoscopes were found to be tainted. The contaminated medical instruments are said to have infected around seven patients, and linked with two deaths. Previous incidences of “superbug” threatening lives had also been recorded in other parts of the world.
The Ronald Reagan UCLA reported a total of as many as 179 patients who were infected with the superbug between October and January. The University also informed that suspected patients have been given a home-testing kit that will later be analyzed by the University.
UCLA suspects that the patients were infected by the use of specialized endoscopes used in the therapy of disease related to the pancreas and bile-duct. The procedure requires the insertion of the endoscopes in the patients’ throats. UCLA said that the manufacturer claims the two medical devices suspected of causing the spread to be sterilized.
The outbreak was first noticed towards the need of January as the medical center was conducting a test on a patient. The Medical Center has now disposed off the infected devices and upgraded the sterilization procedures.
The superbug or carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) is known to be resistant to most antibiotics. This makes their treatment extremely difficult. The National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that the CRE is capable of causing deaths in 50% of the seriously infected cases. The bacteria cause infections of the lungs or bladder, resulting in fever, coughing or chills.
Outbreaks of CRE have been recorded in the nation on previous occasions also. According to the reports of the CDC, CRE infections were previously reported in all the states except Maine and Alaska. An outbreak in Illinois from the Advocate Lutheran General Hospital was recorded in 2013. Another one was reported last month in the Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle.