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UCLA Superbug Also Infected Patients At Cedars-Sinai

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The superbug that infected five patients at UCLA Medical Center, killing two, also infected patients at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center announced that four patients were infected with the superbug carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE), and that 64 others have potentially been exposed, the L.A. Times reports. Cedars-Sinai will be sending letters to all potentially exposed patients, offering testing kits that they can use at home, then send back for analysis.

CRE is a type of bacteria that is highly resistant to treatments. It is rare that healthy people would be infected with CRE. Typically, CRE patients are typically found in hospitals or nursing homes. One of the infected patients at Cedars-Sinai died, but not due to CRE. As with the infections at UCLA, the exposure may be related to the use of a duodenoscope. All of these patients had an ERCP (endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography) performed on them sometime between October 2014 through January 2015. An ERCP involves inserting a scope down a patient's throat to treat digestive conditions. About half a million people worldwide receive ERCPs every year.

The problem with the duodenoscope is that cleaning them, even when performed according to manufacturer's guidelines, may not be enough to sufficiently disinfect them.