Superbug Bacteria Causes Two Deaths As More Than 100 Exposed At Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center

There are at least two patients dead and seven more than have been infected at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center after more than 100 patients were exposed to a superbug bacteria. This superbug is causing much concern in the hospital, and in the entire Los Angeles area, as the bacteria is drug-resistant.

CBS News has reported that the superbug is actually the carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, or CRE. A statement from the hospital says that potential exposure happened between October of 2014 and January of 2015 during “complex endoscopic procedures.”

ABC 7 reports that the scopes that were used for the procedures were sterilized, but the hospital has said an internal investigation was done and found something else.

“[The CRE] may have been transmitted during a procedure that uses this specialized scope to diagnose and treat pancreaticobiliary diseases.”

As of now, the hospital has confirmed that seven patients at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center have been infected by CRE. They’ve also said that CRE might have been a “contributing factor in the death of two patients.”

Reports state the superbug bacteria can be deadly for as many as 50 percent of patients that are exposed to it.

Both of the contaminated scopes have been removed from the hospital and a thorough decontamination process is underway. The decontamination process is said to go “above and beyond the manufacturer and national standards,” per the hospital.

At this time, Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center is working to notify all patients that are or may be affected. Free home testing kits are being offered to them so they can determine if they were infected or not.

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Between 2012 and 2014, contaminated endoscopes were the reason that dozens of patients at a Seattle hospital were infected with CRE.

CBS reports that there were at least 35 patients at Virginia Mason Medical Center who fell ill due to CRE infections, and 11 died. Hospital and public health officials did not disclose the cause of the infection to patients or their families at the time it was happening.

Officials have stated that Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center has notified the Los Angeles County Department of Health and the California Department of Public Health near the end of January. This was as soon as they realized that the endoscopes were contaminated.

For now, there are two deaths and seven infected by this superbug bacteria at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. Hospital officials have not said if they expect those numbers to rise, but it is possible with more than 100 being exposed.

[Image via Getty Images – David McNew]