Rare Outbreak Linked to Chicago Hospital
The largest recorded outbreak of CRE has been traced back to a Chicago-area hospital.
Contaminated Equipment Leads to Bacteria Outbreak
According to United Press International, health officials have determined that tainted equipment used in a relatively routine procedure at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital north of Chicago has lead to the widespread outbreak of cabapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae (CRE).
- The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported a total of 44 cases of infection linked to the bacteria making the current outbreak the largest recorded CRE outbreak ever recorded.
- All those infected had received a routine endoscopic procedure of the pancreas between January and September of 2013. It is unclear if any of the infections have resulted in fatalities.
- All patients who underwent the procedure during this time have been sent letters asking them to return to the hospital for a screening. More than 100 have already responded and received screenings and are scheduled for additional examinations.
- Since the outbreak, the hospital has moved to using gas disinfecting to sterilize the equipment, a process used for surgical equipment, due to the resistant nature of the bacteria.
About Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE)
- Originally discovered in 2009, CRE is a bacterium from the E. coli family most often found in the digestive system.
- CRE most often causes urinary tract infections and, if not treated quickly, the infection can enter the bloodstream. Should the infection reach the bloodstream, the patient has a 40 to 50 percent chance of death.
- Prior to the current outbreak, there had only been 96 documented cases of CRE with a cluster of 10 cases in the Denver area in 2012 being the largest recorded outbreak.
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