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Superbug outbreak shows importance of effective disinfection

iStock | borzywoj

iStock | borzywoj

At least seven patients at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center have contracted a superbug after routine endoscopic procedures.

The patients contracted carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE), known as a “superbug” because it is able to resist most antibiotics. Two of those patients have died, according to CNN. Though UCLA listed CRE as a contributing factor in those deaths, the cause of death was not immediately given.

NPR reports that the outbreak may not be as dire as some news reports claim, because the CRE bacteria is not a threat to most healthy people. However, the cases from UCLA highlight the dangers posed by superbugs and the possible need for more advanced germ-killing technology.

According to the CNN report, two medical scopes were found to be carrying the bacteria even though disinfection guidelines were followed by the medical center. NBC News has an in-depth report on how the scopes are cleaned and why bacteria can still be left behind.

Fortunately, new methods of fighting superbugs are emerging quickly, and new disinfection methods for hospitals also are proving to be effective. Read more about the fight to stop the spread of germs in our germ roundup.

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