Recent outbreaks of “superbug” infections have been traced to endoscopes and other medical equipment that was not sterilized between patients. The FDA warns that complex mechanisms are hard to clean on certain scopes, which increases the risk of disease transmission.
UCLA Hospital Infection Outbreak Linked to Dirty Endoscopes
February 2015 — The FDA has issued a Safety Communication to warn about the risk of antibiotic-resistant “superbug” infections from contaminated medical scopes.
The warning was issued after an outbreak of CRE infection at UCLA exposed 179 patients, including 7 who were infected and 2 who died. The hospital followed the manufacturer’s guidelines for sterilizing the duodenoscope, but infections occurred because the scope’s complex design is so difficult to clean.
The last time the FDA warned about disease-transmission on dirty endoscopes was in 2009. Since then, there have been at least five major outbreaks of infection linked to the scopes. In January, 32 people were infected and 11 died at a hospital in Seattle. Another outbreak last year infected at least 44 people at a hospital in Chicago.
Types of Endoscope Infections
- Antibiotic-resistant infection (sepsis)
- Bloodstream infections
- Abdominal abscesses
- Urinary tract infections
- And more