The Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center said that over 100 of its patients may have been infected by a superbug. Two patients could have died because of the CRE bacteria.
The Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center has informed over 100 patients that they are at risk of having been infected with an antibiotics resistant bug. During endoscopic procedures that took place between October 2014 and January 2015 patients may have been infected by the carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) bacteria.
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The UCLA said in a statement released on their site that they have sterilized the scopes according to the standards stipulated by the manufacturer.
An internal investigation has though determined that the CRE bacteria may have been transmitted during a procedure that uses this specialized scope to diagnose and treat pancreaticobiliary diseases.
The superbug may have been a contributing factor in the death of two patients. UCLA has found so far seven patients that have been infected.
The hospital is offering free home testing kits that would be analyzed at UCLA for patients that had the procedure in the mentioned timeframe. UCLA points out that this has not been the first incident and that CRE exposures have been reported by other hospitals using the same scopes.
Hospitals regularly have to deal with dangerous viruses or bacteria. The sterile environment is apparently a hotbed for specialized bugs that are resistant against common treatments.
CRE was first detected in 2001 in a North Carolina hospital. There is very low risk in getting infected with the CRE superbug if you are healthy. So far most of the infected had been under intense and long term medical care according to the Wikipedia entry for CRE.
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention FAQ on CRE highlights common ways to avoid getting infected by the CRE superbug including washing hands and wearing gloves. The most important message is though to only prescribe antibiotics when necessary. Critics say that superbugs only started to become a problem because of the over use of antibiotics.