Superbug outbreak in LA
Zachary Rubin (L), medical director of clinical epidemiology and infection prevention, Benjamin Schwartz (C), deputy chief of the Acute Communicable Disease Control Program at the county Department of Public Health, and Robert Cherry (R), chief medical and quality officer, UCLA Health System, attend a news conference by UCLA Health System and county officials at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, California February 19, 2015. The large Los Angeles teaching hospital has told scores of patients they were possibly exposed to a drug-resistant bacterial "superbug" during endoscopy procedures that infected seven patients and may have contributed to two deaths.Reuters

Nearly 180 patients have been exposed to a drug-resistant "superbug" at UCLA's Ronald Reagan Medical Center. The outbreak has caused panic among the people of LA, especially since two of the seven patients infected have died.

UCLA, on 19 February, had released a statement officially stating that on the previous day they notified 179 patients that they may have been exposed to the carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae (CRE) bacteria during an endoscopic procedure to diagnose and treat diseases of the liver, bile ducts and pancreas. Only those patients that underwent the procedures from 3 October to 28 January are at risk.

The hospital had discovered the outbreak in January while conducting tests on a patient, and has since been performing more stringent decontamination process that exceeds both the manufacturer's standards and national guidelines. The two scopes involved with the infection were also immediately removed.

Amid the horrifying reports and rising fear, however, David Perlin, an infectious disease scientist and executive director of the Public Health Research Institute at Rutgers, told npr. "It's not something that is likely to spread around the community or is a cause for alarm".

Moreover, the CRE bacteria aren't a threat to most healthy people, according to infectious disease specialist and co-director of the Duke Infection Control Outreach Network, Dr. Deverick J. Studies show that quite a few people carry CRE bacteria in their intestines, unaware of their presence, as their immune system keeps the bugs in check, Anderson says.

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