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New Superbug Infections Reported in Virginia Mason Outbreak


May 6, 2015 — Another seven “superbug” infections have been linked to a deadly outbreak at Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle, Washington. Fortunately, the outbreak appears to be over, according to the Seattle Times.

Including the new cases, at least 39 people were infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria between 2012 and late 2014, including 11 patients who died. The most recent cases were discovered in samples taken from patients between June and November 2014.

Five of the patients had carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE). Two patients had hyper-AmpC (HAC), which is an unusual strain of E. coli that is resistant to nearly all antibiotics.

Fortunately, the outbreak appears to be over. No new infections have been reported since Virginia Mason implemented a more rigorous cleaning process. The duodenoscopes must test negative for bacterial contamination before they can be re-used on a patient.

The infections occurred in patients who underwent medical procedures involving a duodenoscope made by Olympus Corp. Earlier this year, the FDA warned that the scope had been on the market since 2010 without approval. Furthermore, its complex mechanisms make it very difficult to sterilize between uses.

Olympus is facing at least three lawsuits from victims of the Virginia Mason outbreak. Members of the growing litigation accuse the company of failing to provide hospitals with adequate cleaning procedures


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