More than 100 possibly exposed to 'superbug' within UCLA Health System

Reuters News
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Posted: Feb 19, 2015 6:47 AM

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The UCLA Health System said seven patients were infected with a potentially deadly, drug-resistant strain of bacteria and that more than 100 might have been exposed to it.

The patients were potentially exposed to carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) bacteria between October and January, and the bug may have contributed to the deaths of two patients, UCLA said in a statement on Wednesday.

The statement did not specify where the patients were infected, but the Los Angeles Times reported that it occurred at UCLA's Ronald Reagan Medical Center in Los Angeles.

According to the Times, UCLA became aware late last month of the outbreak, which may have been spread by a specialized endoscope inserted down the throat. The paper reported that 179 people in total might have been exposed.

State and local public health officials were immediately notified, the UCLA statement said, and the infected scopes were removed from use.

UCLA said it had already contacted more than 100 patients who were potentially exposed, and it offered free home testing kits that it will later analyze.

Further details were not immediately available.

(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb and Curtis Skinner; Editing by Nick Macfie and Lisa Von Ahn)