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.