The UCLA Health System has notified more than 100 patients that they may have been infected by a “superbug” bacteria during complex endoscopic procedures that took place between October 2014 and January 2015. The patients are being offered free home testing kits that would be analyzed at UCLA.
UCLA sterilized the scopes according to the standards stipulated by the manufacturer. However, an internal investigation determined that carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) bacteria may have been transmitted during a procedure that uses this specialized scope to diagnose and treat pancreaticobiliary diseases and may have been a contributing factor in the death of two patients. A total of seven patients were infected.
Similar CRE exposures using the same type of scope recently have been reported in other hospitals in the United States. 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. Both the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services and the California Department of Public Health were notified as soon as the bacteria were detected.