Contaminated medical tool suspected in ‘superbug’ outbreak

LOS ANGELES (AP) – A “superbug” outbreak suspected in the deaths of two patients at UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles has raised questions about the adequacy of the procedures for disinfecting a medical instrument used on more than a half-million people in the U.S. every year.

At least seven people – two of whom died – have been infected by a potentially lethal, antibiotic-resistant strain of bacteria after undergoing endoscopic procedures between October and January. UCLA said more than 170 other patients may have been exposed as well.

Hospital officials said the infections may have been transmitted through at least two contaminated endoscopes that were used to diagnose and treat pancreatic and bile-duct problems. UCLA said the two medical devices carried the bacteria even though they had been sterilized according to the manufacturer’s specifications.

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