The Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center has announced that 179 people have been potentially exposed to the carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) virus while receiving treatment treatments for bile duct, pancreas, and gall bladder problems within October to January, and two patients are already dead with infections related to CRE.
The patients got infected through contaminated endoscopic instruments that were inserted through the throats of the patients for endoscopy procedures, and the management of the university hospital has been getting in touch with those potentially exposed to notify them of this possibility, while providing them with home-test kits that will collect data to be analyzed by the university.
While 179 are potentially exposed to CRE at UCLA, seven have been confirmed to have been infected with the bacteria. CRE kills nearly half of the patients that contract it, and it was first reported in the US by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention some two years ago, but it seems to be back.
CRE is a group of bacteria that is usually found in hospitals and other healthcare facilities – and they have mutated to develop a huge resistance to a wide range of antibiotics. The bacteria is so deadly that no medication or antibiotic works against it, and the name ‘carbapenem-resistant’ actually means resistant to carbapenem antibiotics. CRE sometimes make an enzyme called Klebsiella pneumoniae that destroys strong antibiotic medications.
CRE only spreads when you touch an open wound or stool of an infected person and then touch a vulnerable part of your body, and that is why it is most common in hospitals than on streets. It also spreads through contaminated medical instruments like endoscopes or catheters and respirator tubes.
According to CDC, the only way to fight against CRE is by constantly washing hands and sterilizing medical instruments.