The L.A. Superbug Outbreak: Five Things You Should Know

February 20, 2015 10:16 PM

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Patients at UCLA Medical Center may have been exposed to drug-resistant bacteria that killed two people, the hospital disclosed this week, notifying 179 who may be at risk. The outbreak is linked to specialized endoscopes inserted through a patient’s mouth and threaded through the gastrointestinal tract. After news about the UCLA cases broke, the FDA warned hospitals on Feb. 19 that the devices, called duodenoscopes, can be difficult to clean properly.

Similar infections linked to the devices at Seattle’s Virginia Mason Medical Center between 2012 and 2014 came to light in January. Previous outbreaks have been recorded in Chicago, Pittsburgh, and elsewhere. A broader review of infections related to different types of endoscopes found records of 70...

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