‘Superbug’ outbreak at Los Angeles hospital infects 7, including 2 who died, and exposes 179

Contaminated medical instruments are to blame for infecting seven patients, including two who died, with a potentially deadly “superbug” at a Los Angeles hospital, officials said. A total of 179 patients have been exposed to the antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

LOS ANGELES — Contaminated medical instruments are to blame for infecting seven patients, including two who died, with a potentially deadly “superbug” at a Los Angeles hospital, officials said. A total of 179 patients have been exposed to the antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

They were potentially infected with Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae, or CRE, during endoscopic procedures at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center between October and January, said Dale Tate, a University of California, Los Angeles spokeswoman. Tests on a patient uncovered the outbreak.

Similar outbreaks of CRE have been reported around the nation. They are difficult to treat because some varieties are resistant to most known antibiotics. By one estimate, CRE can contribute to death in up to half of seriously infected patients, according to the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The bacteria may have been a “contributing factor” in the deaths of two patients, a UCLA statement said. Those who were exposed are being sent free home-testing kits that the university will analyze.

The bacteria can cause infections of the bladder or lungs, leading to coughing, fever or chills.

UCLA said Wednesday that infections may have been transmitted through two endoscopes used during the diagnosis and treatment of pancreatic and bile-duct problems.

“We notified all patients who had this type of procedure, and we were using seven different scopes. Only two of them were found to be infected. In an abundance of caution, we notified everybody,” Tate said.

The two medical devices carried the bacteria even though they were sterilized according to the manufacturer’s specifications, UCLA said.

“We removed the infected instruments, and we have heightened the sterilization process,” Tate said.

National figures on the bacteria are not kept, but 47 states have seen cases, the CDC said.

Since 2012, there have been about a half-dozen outbreaks reaching as many as 150 patients, according to the Los Angeles Times, which first reported the UCLA outbreak.

One occurred in Illinois in 2013. Dozens of patients were exposed to CRE, with some cases apparently linked to a tainted endoscope used at a hospital.

A Seattle hospital, Virginia Mason Medical Center, reported in January that CRE linked to an endoscope sickened at least 35 patients, and 11 died, although it was unclear whether the infection played a role in their deaths.

Experts say the cases represent a disturbing surge.

“This bacteria is emerging in the U.S., and it’s associated with a high mortality rate,” Dr. Alex Kallen, an epidemiologist in CDC’s Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion, told the Times. “We don’t want this circulating anywhere in the community.”

Just Posted

Huge crowds gathering in downtown Toronto for Raptors parade, rally

TORONTO — Jubilant Raptors fans decked out in the team’s gear are… Continue reading

After harsh Twitter exchanges, Senate will look at new social media policy

OTTAWA — An independent senator is on a mission to get members… Continue reading

Alberta energy war room must avoid online morass, preaching to choir: experts

CALGARY — Tzeporah Berman only learned of her cameo appearance at an… Continue reading

Two dead, including one who police believe was a child, in Alberta house fire

PLAMONDON, Alta. — Two people, including one who police believe was a… Continue reading

CSIS destroyed secret file on Pierre Trudeau, stunning historians

OTTAWA — Canada’s spy service destroyed a Cold War dossier on Pierre… Continue reading

Pro-pipelines rally draws crowd to City Hall

Canadian Taxpayers Federation says Canada missing out on billions in revenue

Federal cabinet decision on fate of Trans Mountain pipeline due Tuesday

OTTAWA — The Liberal government’s $4.5 billion gamble to buy the Trans… Continue reading

Skier, 22 dies after fall on Mount Haig near Castle Mountain Ski Resort

PINCHER CREEK, Alta. — RCMP from the Pincher Creek, Alta., detachment are… Continue reading

4 years in, Trump fondly recalls Trump Tower campaign launch

NEW YORK — It was the escalator ride that would change history.… Continue reading

Massive protests draw apology from Hong Kong leadership

Hong Kong citizens marched for hours Sunday in a massive protest that… Continue reading

Butterfly garden keeper manages to film large tarantula shedding exoskeleton

VICTORIA — A 20-centimetre tarantula capable of killing a bird has been… Continue reading

Telegraph-Journal wins 2018 Michener Award recognizing public-service journalism

OTTAWA — The Telegraph-Journal in New Brunswick has been named the winner… Continue reading

Victorious Raptors cancel their return to Toronto after becoming NBA champs

TORONTO — Some Raptors players returned to Toronto on Saturday night for… Continue reading

How a Montreal working-class neighbourhood’s activists changed Quebec and Canada

MONTREAL — The Pointe-St-Charles neighbourhood is isolated from the rest of Montreal… Continue reading

Most Read