UCLA Reports Exposure to 'Superbug' at Health System Facility

Equipment used for endoscopic procedures believed to be cause of infections.

More than 100 patients at a hospital in Los Angeles may have been exposed to a “superbug” that has been linked to at least two deaths at the facility.

According to a press release from the UCLA Health System more than 100 patients may have been infected at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center during “complex endoscopic procedures that took place between October 2014 and January 2015.”

While saying that the equipment had been properly sterilized according to the manufacturer's standards, the statement noted that “an internal investigation determined that carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) bacteria may have been transmitted during a procedure that uses this specialized scope to diagnose and treat pancreaticobiliary diseases and may have been a contributing factor in the death of two patients.” As of the time of the release 7 patients have been confirmed to be infected.

Noting that other hospitals have reported similar infections in the United States UCLA reported that the two scopes “were immediately removed and UCLA is now utilizing a decontamination process that goes above and beyond manufacturer and national standards.”

Following the reported exposure the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services as well as the California Department of Public Health were notified. Patients at the facility were also being given home testing kits which would be analyzed by staff at UCLA according to the statement.