A Chicago-area hospital's handling of a 2013 outbreak of carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) is being hailed as a model for other facilities facing superbug threats.
Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Ill., worked with public health experts to find the source of the potentially deadly bacteria after they'd confirmed that 38 of the state's 44 cases involved patients who'd undergone endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography procedures at the hospital.
The source "came to light because the hospital was testing for mechanisms and regular reporting through their microbiology lab, a resource often underutilized," said Alex Kallen, MD, MPH, a medical officer with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Working with the CDC and local health officials, the hospital identified 3 endoscopes (each from the same manufacturer) as the likely source of the problem. Though reprocessing staff had been following the manufacturer's instructions for disinfecting the scopes, the hospital instituted stricter procedures, specifically implementing gas sterilization.