Tags: superbug | los angeles | infection | contaminated | medical | scope

'Superbug' Los Angeles Tracks Show Infection Emerged From Contaminated Medical Scope

By    |   Friday, 06 Mar 2015 09:39 AM

The Los Angeles "superbug," which has infected four patients and potentially been exposed to 67 others, has been linked to a contaminated medical scope used at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

The superbug, a deadly bacteria, was also behind a recent outbreak at UCLA's Ronald Reagan Medical Center that infected seven and killed two patients, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Experts across the country now fear many more superbug disclosures as hospitals nationwide make the link to the contaminated scopes.

“It's highly likely many hospitals around the country have had outbreaks, and they haven't been able to connect the dots until this problem was disclosed at UCLA,” Lisa McGiffert, director of the Safe Patient Project at Consumers Union, told the Times. “It's just a little late — especially for those who got infections and maybe died as a consequence."

The scope in question is often used in a procedure called endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography or ERCP, in which it's guided down a person's throat to treat digestive tract problems, gallstones, cancers, or blockages, the newspaper reported. Roughly half a million patients undergo the procedure each year.

The Japanese electronics giant that manufactures the devices now faces scrutiny, as some medical experts say the way the scopes are designed makes it difficult to clean them, The Associated Press reported. Regulators are hesitant to pull the devices, though, because they're so widely used.

The superbug bacteria, carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae or CRE, is antibiotic-resistant and kills 50 percent of infected patients, according to the Times.

At issue now is are national mandatory reporting laws, which don't exist in California. Legislators are currently working to introduce a law that would require hospital to report all superbug cases to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in an effort to spread public awareness and eventually stop the spread of the bacteria.

"I don't see how we can combat superbugs if the CDC doesn't even know the full scope of the problem," Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Los Angeles, told the Times. "We should have uniform national reporting for all hospitals."

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The Los Angeles "sugerbug," which has infected four patients and potentially been exposed to 67 others, has been linked to a contaminated medical scope used at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
superbug, los angeles, infection, contaminated, medical, scope
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2015-39-06
Friday, 06 Mar 2015 09:39 AM
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