PASADENA (CBSLA.com) — Officials at Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena may be dealing with a superbug outbreak found on the same type of medical scopes that have caused these infections across the country, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The hospital alerted health officials Wednesday, as well as patients who may have been affected by the suspected outbreak, according to the newspaper.
“After discovering a potential link between bacterial growth in a small number of patients who had undergone an ERCP, we moved quickly to notify public health authorities, quarantine suspected equipment, and closely monitor potentially affected patients,” the hospital said in a statement.
Bacteria known as pseudomonas have been found on Olympus Corp. duodenoscopes, the Times said, and some antibiotic-resistant strains can be deadly. The reusable nature of these scopes carries the potential to pass the pathogens on to other patients.
Hospital officials have blamed the superbug bacteria, also carried on Olympus scopes, for killing three patients in February at UCLA’s Ronald Reagan Medical Center. The Times reported that four more patients taken ill in March with the same superbug at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
According to reports, the Olympus endoscope was never approved for sale to hospitals by the Food and Drug Administration.
Dr. Paula Verrette, Sr. Vice President and Chief Medical Officer at Huntington Hospital, issued the following statement: “This is a problem facing every hospital and we will be part of the solution. Guidelines in place for disinfecting and monitoring scopes for bacterial growth are in line with FDA and manufacturer standards.
“We cannot deprive appropriate care to patients whose health issues can be relieved or addressed through the use of these scopes, but we are proceeding with an abundance of caution in our disinfecting and monitoring protocols to ensure patient safety.”