L.A. hospital warns 179 patients possibly exposed to ‘superbug’

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At least 179 patients at the UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center may have been exposed to a ‘superbug.’ The ‘superbug’ is thought to have contributed to the deaths of two of the seven patients known to have been infected by the bacteria.

Patients may have been infected by the bacteria carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, or CRE, during endoscopy procedures. During these procedures, specialized endoscopes are inserted down patients’ throats and into their stomach or intestines in order to treat pancreatic or bile duct diseases. According to the hospital, two of the seven endoscopes used in this procedure were contaminated with the deadly bacteria.

Once CRE gets into the bloodstream, it causes lung or bladder infections that often lead to fever, coughing and possibly death. The bacteria usually impacts patients whose immune systems are already compromised because of other illnesses or old age. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and PRevention, the germs cause death in up to 50 percent of infected patients.

Although the UCLA hospital system claims that it has been thoroughly sterilizing the scopes, the design of endoscopes makes it difficult for the scopes to be as meticulously cleaned as they should be. Medical experts are now advocating for the use of disposable, single-use instruments rather than ones that need to be sterilized after each procedure. The hospital has offered all patients home testing kits that will be analyzed by the hospital to determine who is infected by the antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Unfortunately ‘superbugs’ are quite common and are linked to approximately 23,000 deaths and two million illnesses a year.

RUNDOWN SHOWS:
1. Patient receiving endoscopy procedure with contaminated endoscope tube at Ronald Reagan Medical Center
2. ‘Superbug’ enters the bloodstream and spreads to patient’s bladder and lungs
3. Antibiotics have no effect on infections
4. Two of the seven patients known to be infected have died

VOICEOVER (in English):

Two deaths at a hospital in Los Angeles, California are linked to the spread of deadly, antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Almost 200 patients at LA’s Ronald Reagan Medical Center may have been exposed to the deadly bacteria carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, or CRE.

Patients at UCLA’s Ronald Reagan Medical Center may have been exposed to CRE during their endoscopy procedure.

The hospital says that two of their fiberoptic endoscope tubes were contaminated despite the hospital’s rigorous sterilization procedure.

CRE enters the bloodstream, where it usually causes infections there, in the lungs, and in the bladder.

Antibiotics have no impact on the infections.

The bacteria is thought to have contributed to the deaths of two of the seven patients at the hospital who were infected with CRE.

The bacteria impacts people whose immune systems are already weak, and is linked to approximately 23,000 deaths a year.

SOURCES: Reuters, NBC News, Mother Jones, NPR

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/02/19/us-usa-ucla-bacteria-idUSKBN0LN0ZS20150219

http://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/what-cre-why-do-people-catch-it-n308881

http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2015/02/superbug-cre-antibiotic-resistant-UCLA

http://www.npr.org/2015/02/19/387414294/la-hospital-179-patients-exposed-to-drug-resistant-superbug