UCLA Outbreak of the “Superbug”

“Superbugs.” Have you ever heard of them? Most think of the aliens from a TV show that are called “superbugs,” but no they are not aliens. In fact, they are bacteria, one of the most deadly types of bacteria.

According to the CDC, a specific family of “superbugs” named Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, also known are CRE, are very hard to treat because of their high resistance to antibiotics. They also have a high mortality rate and due to this, there are very limit therapeutic treatment options. The long-term effects are still unknown to health officials. The people that are most vulnerable to this bacteria are those that use ventilators, urinary catheters, intravenous catheters, and those that are taking certain antibiotics for long periods of time are most susceptible to CRE. The death rates for this are astounding: 50% of infected people die from this disease.

The most recent outbreak was in California at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, and it all happened because of the contaminated hard-to-clean endoscopes used in nearly two hundred procedures in the last four months. 179 patients have been affected by the contaminated endoscopes.

An 18-year old student was recently hospitalized and his lawyer is sure to sue the makers of the instruments, Olympus Corp. of the Americas, and are still unsure whether or not to press charges on UCLA. Due to this patient and several others waiting to be treated by doctors, the US Food and Drug Administration have issued a warning about the type of endoscope linked to the UCLA outbreak.

Thankfully, this outbreak is not a danger to the public health, as told by Dr. Benjamin Schwartz, deputy chief of the acute communicable disease control program at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 03 June 2014. Web. 21 Feb. 2015.

Helsel, Phil. “UCLA Superbug Outbreak Called No Threat to Public.” NBC News. NBC News, 19 Feb. 2015. Web. 19 Feb. 2015.

Briggs, Bill. “UCLA ‘Superbug’ Patient to Sue Maker of Suspect Endocopes: Lawyer.” NBC News. NBC News, 20 Feb. 2015. Web. 21 Feb. 2015.


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