Contaminated endoscopes linked to 'superbug' deaths at UCLA hospital

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The FDA is warning hospitals that certain instruments used to treat digestive disorders may be linked to a deadly superbug.

The FDA is warning hospitals that certain instruments used to treat digestive disorders may be linked to a deadly superbug.

The superbug is being blamed for two deaths at UCLA Medical Center. Now the hospital is in the process of upgrading how it cleans its instruments.

Doctors are concerned because this bacteria is especially difficult to treat.

Emergency room doctor Sanjeeb Seth said the bacteria known as CRE is one of the worst. It's aggressive and resistant to modern drugs.

"It's a very potent, virulent organism that can cause death," Seth said.

The Centers for Disease Control reports it can kill up to half of those infected.

"It makes me worried as a student because, you know, what can you do to fight against that?" student Jillian Frankel asked.

Two deaths at UCLA's Ronald Reagan Medical Center have been linked to the superbug. 179 other patients may have been exposed.

The source of the bug is contaminated endoscopes. They're used to examine digestive disorders and cancers. Doctors guide them down a patient's throat.

The hospital says the instruments were sterilized, but the FDA released a new warning on Thursday saying endoscopes may be hard to clean because of the design.

In a written statement, a spokeswoman with the UCLA Health Systems explained, "The two scopes involved with the infection were immediately removed and UCLA is now utilizing a decontamination process that goes above and beyond the manufacturer and national standards."

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