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Medical equipment and the risks of spreading pathogens

By Tim Sandle     Mar 1, 2015 in Health
Evidence suggests that drug-resistant bacteria have spread in a Los Angeles hospital, probably from contaminated endoscopes.
Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) appears to have infected at least seven patients (two of whom died) at California’s Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in recent months. In addition, a further 179 patients were possibly exposed. Health officials suspect contaminated endoscopes are to blame.
CRE are bacteria that are nearly resistant to the carbapenem class of antibiotics. These are the antibiotics of last resort. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), patients whose care requires devices like ventilators (breathing machines), urinary (bladder) catheters, or intravenous (vein) catheters, and patients who are taking long courses of certain antibiotics are most at risk for CRE infections.
With the recent outbreak, 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,” according to Zachary Rubin, the medical director of clinical epidemiology and infection prevention at UCLA Medical. Dr Rubin expressed this comments to CNN.
The U.S. 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.
More about Superbugs, endoscopes, Medical Equipment, Hospital
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