23-Feb-15 10:45 AM  CST

California Health Professionals Work to Control Superbug

For years scientists and researchers have warned that overuse of antibiotics would lead to bacterial diseases antibiotics would not be able to contain. Healthcare workers at the University of California Los Angeles are currently in a real world scenario that involves a “superbug” that has infected 7, killed 2, and possibly exposed 100. Officials state that infected patients at Ronald Regan U.C.L.A Medical Center were exposed to the bacteria through an endoscopic procedure sometime between October and January.

Officials state that there have been similar outbreaks of carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae (CRE) across the United States, but this most recent outbreak is one of the most severe. The bacteria, which typically leads to infections of the lungs and bladder, often leads to fevers, chills, and coughing. CRE has been documented in all 50 states with the exception of Idaho, Alaska, and Maine according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

While officials state that protocol and procedure for cleaning the endoscopes at UCLA where followed, bacterial may still linger in places within the endoscope that cannot be easily reached. Although this most recent incident involving the cleaning of medical equipment has brought “superbugs” has pushed its way into the headlines it is not the first time bacteria and medical devices have been noted as a concern. According to Washington Post news article the FDA has received at least 75 reports over the last 2 years of potential problems involving the use of medical devices infected with CRE.

Carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae (CRE) more than 9300 people each year and according to the CDC in 2013 killed 610 people. Some healthcare officials believe the majority of the problem exists with the design of the medical device. However, manufacturers of the devices stress that all protocols must be followed for cleaning the devices. Many this latest incident of CRE is just the beginning of a much more serious problem.




Dennis, B., (2015) “FDA warns about medical scopes after “superbug” hits California hospital” Washington Post, http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/fda-warns-about-medical-scopes-after-superbug-hits-california-hospital/2015/02/19/15a49a2c-b84f-11e4-a200-c008a01a6692_story.html, retrieved 21. February 2015


New York Times, (2015) “California: Hospital states “Superbug” infected 7”, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/19/us/california-hospital-says-superbug-infected-7.html?ref=health&_r=0, retrieved 21. February 2015

For additional information on this article, please contact:
Kelley Simmons
Source: Sandy Andrews  

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