Researchers identify risk factors for bacteria transmission from tainted scopes — 5 points

A Gastrointestinal Endoscopy study found patients face an increased risk of infection from exposure to a contaminated scope if they had a stent placed in the bile duct using a tainted scope, had a history of bile duct cancer or were hospital inpatients at the time of the procedure, as Medical Xpress reported.

The study was based on data from a 2015 bacterial outbreak at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles that sickened eight patients, three of whom later died. Lead study author Stephen Kim, MD, a clinical instructor in the digestive disease division in the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California in Los Angeles, and colleagues traced the infections to two duodenoscopes. They analyzed data from 104 patients who had been exposed to either of the two tainted scopes and who had submitted rectal swabs for testing.

Here are five points:

1. Fifteen of the patients acquired carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, or CRE — eight who had active infections that required urgent treatment and seven patients who had acquired CRE but had no symptoms that required medical care.

2. County public health officials and UCLA Health determined the hospital had followed the manufacturer's guidelines for cleaning the scopes.

3. The manufacturer ultimately recalled the device after additional outbreaks elsewhere were linked to the device's design.

4. Shortly after UCLA reported its findings of the outbreak, federal regulators issues several safety alerts about duodenoscopes to all U.S. hospitals.

5. The authors recommend healthcare professionals that suspect patients have been exposed to CRE through a contaminated scope should closely monitor that patient with any one of the three risk factors to help prevent an outbreak. Patients who have the infection but are asymptomatic should be monitored for up to six months.

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