(CBS) — The superbug known as CRE and once detected at a Park Ridge Hospital last year has now emerged at a hospital in Los Angeles.
CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot reports on the drug-resistant bacteria, which can kill 50 percent of those infected if it gets in the blood stream.
“This is a bacteria that normally lives in the intestine, but because it’s been exposed to so many antibiotics, it has genetically mutated,” Dr. William Schaffner of Vanderbilt Medical Center says.
Two patients at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center died from CRE.
Five other people here have been infected by the deadly bacteria. It’s spread through endoscopic equipment used in procedures involving the pancreas or bile ducts.
The people were infected between October of last year and this January. The FDA says the complex scope design can lead to bacteria building up in spots. This may make the device difficult to clean, disinfect or sterilize.
“The two scopes involved with the infection were immediately removed and UCLA is now utilizing a decontamination process that goes above and beyond the manufacturer and national standards,” a statement from the UCLA Health System says.
Some estimates say the type of endoscope in question is used in procedures at least a half a million times each year across the U.S.
In January 2014, 38 cases were confirmed at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge. At that time, the hospital couldn’t determine how the infections occurred.
“We have now done the gas sterilization. We have cultured all of the scopes repeatedly after the gas sterilization and there has been no presence of the bacteria at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital,” the hospital said last year.