Nearly 180 patients are expected to have been exposed to a potentially fatal “superbug” after using the contaminated medical instruments that have infected seven people and likely have claimed lives of two patients, UCLA reported on Wednesday.
In a statement, the university administration said that a total of 179 patients got infected with antibiotic-resistant carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) at its Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center during the endoscopic procedures conducted between October and January.
The outbreak of CRE was discovered late last month during tests on a patient.
The statement further said that the university is sending the home-testing kits for analysis to the suspected patients who may have been exposed to the deadly superbug.
The reports suggest that similar CRE outbreaks have been reported across the country.
According to the health experts, such infections are difficult to treat as some varieties of superbugs become resistant to popular antibiotics.
As per the estimates of the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae can cause death in approximately half of the seriously infected patients.
The infections are likely to have been transmitted via specialized endoscopes that were used during the diagnosis and treatment procedures of pancreatic and bile-duct problems, according to UCLA.
The university said that they have removed the infected devices and upgraded the decontamination procedures.
The CDC health officials said that the bacteria can lead to the infections of lungs or bladder, fever, cough, or chills.
The health body has reported infections in every state except Alaska, Idaho and Maine.