Medical Equipment May Spread Superbug

Drug-resistant bacteria have spread in a Los Angeles hospital, perhaps from contaminated endoscopes.

By Kerry Grens | February 20, 2015


Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) have infected at least seven patients—two of whom died—at California’s Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in recent months. Another 179 patients were possibly exposed, and health officials suspect contaminated endoscopes are to blame.

The hospital conducted an internal review of its cleaning process and found that CRE could remain on the instruments, suggesting “that the routine processes we were using just weren’t adequate,” Zachary Rubin, the medical director of clinical epidemiology and infection prevention at UCLA Medical, told CNN.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has now issued a warning that the reuse of these particular devices, called duodenoscopes, may spread antibiotic-resistant bacteria even when cleaning protocols are properly followed. According to the safety message: “Recent medical publications and adverse event reports associate multidrug-resistant bacterial infections in patients who have undergone [endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography] with reprocessed duodenoscopes, even when manufacturer reprocessing instructions are followed correctly.”

Fujifilm Medical Systems USA and Olympus Corp, two manufacturers of duodenoscopes, told CNN they are working with FDA to address the concerns. The companies’ official “disinfection recommendations were approved by the FDA,” Reuters reported.

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Avatar of: EricaDeaton


Posts: 1

April 29, 2015

It is true that FDA has introduced new guidelines for the healthcare industry regarding re-use medical devices which have the possibility to spread superbugs. As you have explained this concern in your post, one more major warning issued by FDA is regarding the cyber vulnerability which you can read at ihealthbeat. This also becomes great challenge for hospitals to sort out.

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