A possible deadly ‘superbug’ known as CRE infected seven, killed two and has been exposed to approximately 200 others in Southern California, UCLA reported Wednesday. All five of the confirmed contaminated patients who remain alive are under treatment and supervision, says UCLA spokeswoman Dale Tate.
Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) can be difficult to treat due to the fact that some strains are resistant to most forms of Antibiotics. This thought is a bit frightening considering Antibiotics is the main way in which humans battle bacteria. According to the CDC, cases of CRE have been reported in all states apart from Idaho, Maine and Alaska. The bacteria has been known to cause infections of the bladder and lungs, leading to chills and coughing.
UCLA says, “Infections may have been transmitted through two endoscopes used during the diagnosis and treatment of pancreatic and bile-duct problems.” All patients who had this procedure were sent a free at-home testing kit that will be analyzed by the university.
The hospital urges that this is only a precaution, but necessary given the severity of the bacteria.
“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,” Dale Tate told reporters. The two medical devices transported the bacteria even though they were sterilized accordant to the manufacturer’s specifications. Tate notes that they have removed the infected instruments, and have increased the sterilization process.
The dispersion of the bacteria has most often taken place in hospitals in the past. It requires close contact, such as an open wound to spread.
Additional details on the health conditions of the five infected patients have not been unveiled, and information on the circumstances of the two deaths have yet to be made public. Officials have stated that there is no immediate threat to the public.
California’s public health department has thankfully reported that no other medical centers in the state have seen a related outbreak. Patients will continue to be observed as the deadly ‘superbug’ hopefully dissipates.