Friday, February 27, 2015

Deadly CRE Germs Linked to Hard-to-Clean Medical Scopes

News Brief by Kathryn Gibb

            CRE, or carbapenem-resistant enterbacteriaceae, is a family of germs that can develop into antibiotic resistant bacteria.  Recently, the U.C.L.A medical center discovered that these germs were transmitted to patients via improperly sterilized duodenoscopes.  These medical scopes are used in procedures to diagnose and treat diseases.  The devices have many small crevices that make them easy to house leftover body fluids and germs, while making them difficult to clean. When not properly disinfected, the scopes have the potential to transmit the dangerous CRE bacteria.  Antibiotic resistant bacteria can make infections impossible to treat, oftentimes resulting in death.  Although the U.C.LA medical center claimed that the scopes were cleaned according to the manufacturing company’s standards, two of the seven duodenoscopes used at the hospital had been suspected to transmit the germs to patients.  The hospital has agreed to clean the scopes in a way that “goes above and beyond the manufacturer and national standards,” according to a statement issued by the U.C.L.A Health System.  While the FDA has the power to remove these scopes from the market, currently there aren’t any alternatives to these devices.  Rather than potentially creating a greater public health problem by removing the scopes from the market, it appears they will remain in use.  For now, the scopes will be cleaned thoroughly to prevent the further spread of this infection. 

Tavernise, Sabrina. "Deadly CRE Germs Linked to Hard-to-Clean Medical Scopes." Health. The New York Times, 19 Feb. 2015. Web. 25 Feb. 2015. .

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