A second hospital in Los Angeles has confirmed that several patients have been infected with drug resistant ‘Superbug’ similar to a recent outbreak at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. Cedar-Sinai Medical Center has confirmed that four patients were infected during endoscopic procedures between August and January of this year. One of the patients died but not as a result of the superbug, now known as CRE.
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center report coincides with a similar outbreak reported in Hartford, Connecticut where five infections have been confirmed and more than 280 potential exposures. Infections are reported to have occurred even with the cleaning of the scope to the manufacturer’s standards with some hospitals being forced to remove the device from use while others enhance their cleaning procedures.
The bacteria identified in Hartford Hospital outbreak is a drug-resistant strain of E. coil. The Food and Drug Administration has been forced to issue an updated safety alert for duodenoscopes. The agency is urging medical providers still using the scope to inform patients of the associated risks, as well as possible transmission of infection. Privately owned Cedars-Sinai and UCLA have already said that they are willing to offer potentially exposed patients with free home testing kits.
The wave of infections only goes to question whether manufacturer’s recommendations for disinfecting duodenoscopes does help in protecting patients. Proper cleaning of the scopes may be hindered by their complex design according to the FDA. The tubes are usually threaded down the throat and stomach to the top of the small intestine for the purposes of draining fluids from blocked pancreatic and bile ducts
A senior FDA official has already said that a majority of manufactures tests for disinfection contained flaws that made the cleaning procedures unreliable. The scopes have for some time been associated with episodic infections. Increased number of germs over the years that have developed resistance to antibiotics have only gone to make the infections more rampant.