Another 67 patients were exposed to the deadly virus. Cedars-Sinai officials said one of the patients infected with the superbug had died.
The same model duodenoscope was linked to the second outbreak, which occurred from August 2014 to mid-February 2015. California is not the only state where a superbug outbreak occurred following the use of a duodenoscope.
Another superbug outbreak came at Virginia Mason Hospital in Seattle. About 32 patients were infected from 2012 to 2014. Of the patients exposed to the superbug outbreak, 11 died.
Other states including Pennsylvania, Illinois and Florida have reported superbug outbreaks in recent years because of scopes possibly made by Olympus. Because of the outbreaks and lack of FDA action, exposed and infected patients are filing superbug scope lawsuits.
The images captured by the scope are shown on a video monitor where doctors can view them during the procedure. Doctors can retrieve foreign objects with the scope or assist with biopsies.
An endoscope is often used to discover or confirm a diagnosis when other options like a CT scan or MRI are inconclusive. The device is inserted into either a person’s mouth or rectum.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), each year about 2 million people become infected with the antibiotic resistant bacteria, and approximately 23,000 of them die from the infection. The term “superbug” is often used to refer to CRE, a subgroup of Enterobacteriaceae bacteria that are hard to treat.
Like most bacteria, the superbug bacteria mutates as it multiplies. Unfortunately, this bacterium mutates in a particular way which makes it a superbug. Carbapenem, a type of antibiotic, is generally used to treat severe cases of infection, although CRE is resistant to carbapenem. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CRE cases are on the rise.
Healthy individuals are not at risk for acquiring a superbug infection. Instead, certain individuals are at risk for acquiring the superbug, including:
Those who have undergone an endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography, where a duodenoscope is used, are potentially at risk. This especially applies to patients for whom CRE was present on the device.
Exposure to CRE most often occurs via person-to-person contact in healthcare settings like nursing homes and hospitals.
Symptoms of CRE superbug infection depends on the organ it infects. For instance, if the kidney is infected, a person may have flank pain. In other patients, an unexplained high fever may be the signaling symptom. But a fever is considered a vague symptom, and one trick in diagnosing a superbug is that its vague symptoms resemble those of non-CRE infections.
|Symptoms of CRE superbug infection|
|Severe urinary tract infection||Severe pneumonia|
|High fever||Isolating organisms (resistant to any antibiotics)|
About 40 to 50 percent of people with a CRE infection die because it is so complicated to treat. In fact, medical experts said it can be harder to treat than other notoriously virulent infections, including MRSA, Clostridium difficile and C. difficile (C. diff). Doctors typically use older antibiotics to treat CRE. New studies show a combination of drugs shows a small improvement in survival.
CRE overwhelms the body. Bacteria spread throughout the body over a period of a couple days to a few weeks. Since the individual is already ill, it worsens their health. Often, the infection is one of many things contributing to infected patients’ deaths.