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Sad Update on Endoscope-Acquired Infections

As a segue to today’s blog post, our readers in Missouri and elsewhere might logically want to take a look at one of our earlier entries, namely, our January 27 post.

The title of that entry focusing upon endoscopes used in the treatment of digestive ailments poses this very direct question: “Does disinfecting absolutely ensure cleanliness?”

In that wake of that article and with the hindsight provided by just a few short weeks, the answer to that query yields this unequivocal response: No, it does not.

And when it does not, a clear downside emerges, with quick and, often, tragic consequences.

Officials at the Ronald Reagan Medical Center in Los Angeles can readily attest to that. They are currently trying to establish contact with 179 former patients who might have been exposed to an especially virulent form of bacteria through tainted scopes used in medical treatments they received.

Sadly, that notification follows news reporting that two patients at the center have already died from hospital-acquired bacterial infections they contracted from contaminated scopes. A number of others have also been diagnosed with infections.

The situation is currently — and for obvious reasons — being closely monitored by national health authorities.

A special focal point of their concern is upon so-called CRE bacteria, which was the strain confirmed in the deaths of the patients in Los Angeles.

We mentioned that bacteria in our above-cited earlier post, noting that it is “an especially virulent bacterial strain.”

In fact, the CDC states that it can kill infected persons in about half of all instances, and that this is of especially heightened concern presently, given evidence that CRE outbreaks are spreading nationally.

Federal Food and Drug Administration officials say that they are focusing on better scope designs and processes for disinfecting.

The obvious aim: to stamp out CRE and other deadly forms of bacteria without delay.

We will keep our readers well informed of any material updates that surface regarding this subject matter.

Source: Newsweek, “Superbug kills two at UCLA; 179 others may have been exposed,” Douglas Main, Feb. 19, 2015