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Calif. Hospital Reports Likely Duodenoscope-Related Outbreak

At least 3 patients have reportedly been infected.

Published: August 24, 2015

Infected duodenoscopes are suspected of causing another dangerous outbreak at a California hospital, the Los Angeles Times reports, this time involving pseudomonas bacteria, which are reportedly similar to carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE), the superbug that has sickened and killed numerous patients in various outbreaks nationwide.

Huntington Memorial Hospital, in Pasadena, said last week that it has reported 3 patient infections to health officials and that it is continuing to investigate. The hospital, which discovered the potential problem in June while reviewing lab samples, has enlisted the help of 2 nationally renowned medical research facilities, says Paula Verrette, MD, senior vice president and chief medical officer for quality and physician services at Huntington Memorial.

"Even though the link between the scope and bacteria is not confirmed, we alerted the affected patients about a possible link," Dr. Verrette tells the newspaper.

Previous outbreaks have occurred at hospitals in Los Angeles, Seattle, suburban Chicago and Pittsburgh, setting off a firestorm of controversy as manufacturers and healthcare officials struggle to preserve the life-saving benefits of the scopes, which are used for endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) procedures, while trying to overcome the immense challenges involved in thoroughly and consistently disinfecting and sterilizing them.

Jim Burger


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