March 3, 2015 – Recent Outbreak


Anchor lead:   A recent superbug outbreak can be controlled, Elizabeth Tracey reports

CRE stays for carbapenam resistant enterbacteriaceae, and this is the bug that colonized one type of endoscope at a California hospital, killing two people and perhaps infecting scores of others.  While such a prospect is frightening, Patrick Okolo, chief of endoscopy at Johns Hopkins, says procedures are in place to disinfect the instruments and make sure that’s effective.

Okolo: As a backup surveillance mechanism we are also looking at these endoscopes, culturing them to make sure that they are free of these superbugs. We do anywhere from 500,000 to a million of these procedures in the United States.  They’ve been something in the region of a hundred and thirty cases or so and unfortunately two deaths have been linked to this bug via this mechanism.  The numbers are small, the procedures are often serious procedures for serious indications so I think for those who’ve had this procedure they ought not to worry.   :34

At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.