‘Superbug’ outbreak scare

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Savanna Cowles  |  Contributing Writer

It appears the “superbug” scare from UCLA is not serious as the media are making it out to be.

After news broke last week that over 160 patients have been exposed to a deadly superbug at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, panic started over a supposedly deadly outbreak.

Los Angeles County Health Officials made a statement saying the incident is not of public concern.

Two deaths have occurred so far and seven have been infected from the medical center, but the biggest risk is really only for those who are elderly or extremely sick already. Most healthy people have no reason to worry because it’s not likely to spread outside hospital doors.

According to the CDC, the disease can kill up to half of those infected if not contained.

The superbug, Carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae, also known as CRE, is a part of a bacteria family that lives in the intestines and is very resistant to antibiotics.

Infectious disease specialist David Perlin says it is unlikely that the disease will spread because UCLA already identified and eliminated the source of the infection. However, this scare is a reminder of the concern over the rise in drug-resistant germs.

The outbreak was caused by improperly sanitized endoscopes. The ERCP Duodenoscope is used to look down throats of patients who have terminal diseases and is used on over 500,000 people a year. However, it is difficult to disinfect completely, which is how the superbug spread.

Scientists expect news of this outbreak to flare up, then go away.

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