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CRE Superbug Outbreak at UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center

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Los Angeles, CA: Los Angeles, CA: Two people are dead and 179 potentially infected with a deadly superbug found at UCLA. According to a report by the PBS documentary news show Frontline, the antibiotic resistant superbug outbreak took place at Ronald Reagan Medical Center from October 2014 to January 2015.

It is believed that tainted medical scopes, called duodenoscopes, may have been the source of human exposure to the bug, a hospital spokesperson said. Seven people are confirmed to have been infected including the two who died, said spokeswoman Elaine Schmidt.

The superbug—carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE)—is thought to be have been transmitted via the medical instruments despite the fact that those instruments had been sterilized to the manufacturer' prescribed standards.

CRE is resistant to practically every antibiotic currently on the market, including carbapenems, which are considered as the antibiotics of last resort, Frontline reports.

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the design of the duodenoscopes could impede the process of cleaning and disinfecting. The scopes are lit, flexible tubes that are threaded through the mouth, throat, stomach, and duodenum. The FDA has recommended that new maintenance procedures be undertaken and that the scopes not be used, if they are suspected to have been exposed to the bug at some point.

UCLA said in a statement that it stopped using the two scopes involved in the outbreak and is now using a decontamination process that goes "above and beyond the manufacturer and national standards"for its scopes.

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