A large number of patients in Los Angeles have been exposed to a drug-resistant bacterial “superbug”. The infection was transmitted during endoscopy procedures infecting seven patients and may have led to a couple of deaths.
There can be 179 patients likely to be infected by the carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, or CRE. They are offered with home testing kits, which will be analyzed by the University of California, Los Angeles, hospital system, according the UCLA officials
The exposure occurred when the specialized endoscope was inserted down the throat in diagnosing and treating pancreatic and bile duct diseases.
The UCLA officials said in a statement, “The two scopes involved with the infection were immediately removed, and UCLA is now utilizing a decontamination process that goes above and beyond manufacturer and national standards.”
Difficult to treat
The Superbug infections have become resistant to antibiotic, making it difficult to treat. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is concerned as it can lead to deaths in up to 50% of the patients infected, according to a report from Reuters..
The FDA warning came close to the heel as the California outbreak, called duodenoscopes, may delay proper cleaning because of the complex design of the endoscopes.
FDA has put effort in raising awareness among the doctors and other healthcare professionals regarding the risk associated with multidrug-resistant infections even when cleaning is done properly.
The three major scope manufacturers are: Fujifilm, Olympus Corp, and Pentax. FDA approved the recommendation of disinfection.
According to a report, in January, Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle reported a similar incident when 32 people got infected with bacteria spread within the facility for over two years through contaminated endoscopes.
Eleven patients died of the infection between 2012 and 2014.
There have been dozens of patients infected through contaminated endoscopes in Pittsburgh in 2012 and Chicago in 2014, according to the health officials.
“Superbugs” causes of death for a large number of people every year. The figure can be 23,000 deaths and 2 million illnesses a year in the United States, with a direct healthcare cost of up to $20 billion.