Philadelphia’s Jefferson Hospital Discloses CRE Superbug Outbreak

Thomas Jefferson University Hospital is the “unnamed hospital” with the superbug outbreak previously disclosed by the Philadelphia Department of Public Health.

Jefferson Hospital disclosed its identity today. It declared that there was “no definitive link” between duodenoscopes and the superbugs, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer article.

The superbug outbreak occurred at the hospital in Philadelphia between 2013 and 2014. There are at least eight confirmed cases with two resulting in deaths. Because duodenoscopes are usually reused on subsequent patients, dozens, if not hundreds, of local patients may have been exposed.

CRE is a very serious infection. Early symptoms of CRE infection include fever and chills, chest pain, severe abdominal pain, trouble swallowing or breathing, nausea and vomiting and black or tarry stools. Patients with CRE infections can suffer sepsis, blood infections, the failure or loss of organs, and even death. CRE has a mortality rate as high as 40-50%. If you believe you may have contracted the dangerous bacteria, seek medical assistance immediately.

Despite Jefferson Hospital’s somewhat suspect denial of any link between the duodenoscopes and the outbreak, other hospitals have concluded that contaminated dudodenoscopes have been to blame for CRE superbug outbreaks at their facilities.

In 2012, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center had a superbug outbreak. Following an investigation, officials from the hospital pointed to inadequate reprocessing of duodenoscopes between patients. It found that the sealed elevator channel on the devices was harboring the deadly bacteria and they were not adequately disinfected by the standard procedure for cleaning.

More recently, the disclosure of two deaths at an an LA hospital turned the public’s attention to the problem. The disclosure of the exposure of nearly 200 patients at UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center in Los Angeles sparked a media frenzy surrounding the medical devices.

A duodenoscope is a flexible, lighted tube that is threaded down the throat, through the stomach and into the small intestine of the patient. It is used in 500,000 procedures annually to help doctors diagnose medical problems. There are three manufacturers of duodenoscopes: Olympus, Pentax and Fujifilm.

For more information regarding CRE infection, contact Dan Purtell at 1-800-590-4116.