Seven patients have been infected with a rare antibiotic-resistant and potentially deadly “superbug” pathogen including two who died. Contaminated medical instruments have been blamed for the infection. The incident happened at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. The hospital officials said a total of 179 patients may be infected.
The patients were exposed to the deadly pathogen named Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae, or CRE during routine endoscopic procedures when it was detected in a patient.
ULCA said on Wednesday that the infection could have been passed during two endoscopic examination which was used during the diagnosis and the treatment of pancreatic and bile duct problems.
Tate said.”We notified all patients who had this type of procedure, and we were using seven different scopes. Only two of them were found to be infected. In an abundance of caution, we notified everybody.”
According to Dale Tate, a University of California, Los Angeles spokeswoman, the patients are being sent free home testing kits which will then be analyzed by the UCLA. A university statement said that the bacteria could be a contributing factor in the death of two patients.
This is not the first time the outbreak of superbug has been reported in the nation. These pathogens are difficult to treat with known antibiotics since these pathogens are resistant to most of them. According to one estimate, CRE can contribute to death in 50% of the seriously infected patients. The pathogen can cause infections of bladder, lungs leading to coughing, fever and chills.
The two medical devices which have been used for the endoscopic examination could have been infected though they were sterilized as per manufacturer’s specification.
ULCA added “We removed the infected instruments, and we have heightened the sterilization process.”
Since 2012 more than half a dozen outbreaks involving more than 150 patients have been reported according to Los Angeles Times which first reported the UCLA outbreak.