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  • Jefferson Adams
    Jefferson Adams

    Endoscopy Patients Warned of 'Super-bug' Exposure at UCLA Medical Center

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    Celiac.com 03/02/2015 - Officials at UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center have warned 179 people that a fairly routine endoscopy procedure may have left them exposed to a drug-resistant 'super-bug' that infected seven patients, and may have contributed to two deaths. The possible exposures occurred at the UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center, between October and January, in patients who underwent a procedure in which a specialized endoscope is inserted down the throat to diagnose and treat pancreatic and bile duct diseases.

    Photo: CC--Grammaticus BramlingtonOfficials said in an official statement that hospital staff had been sterilizing the scopes according to the manufacturer's standards, but was now using "a decontamination process that goes above and beyond manufacturer and national standards."

    Meanwhile, hospitals across the United States have reported exposures from the same type of medical equipment in recent years, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has said it was working with other government agencies and manufacturers of the scopes to minimize risks to patients.

    The FDA says recent medical publications and adverse event reports associated multidrug-resistant bacterial infections in patients who have undergone ERCP with reprocessed duodenoscopes, "even when manufacturer reprocessing instructions are followed correctly."

    The multidrug-resistant bacterial infections include carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) such as Klebsiella species and Escherichia coli.

    The FDA says that from January 2013 through December 2014, they received 75 medical device reports involving about 135 patients related to possible microbial transmission from reprocessed duodenoscopes. "It is possible that not all cases have been reported to the FDA," the agency says.

    Given the fact that celiac disease diagnosis and follow up care require the use of endoscopy, this news is particularly disturbing to those in the celiac community.

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    This does not apply to celiac screening. How irresponsible to be posting shock articles that make people shy away from getting needed medical care. This is a different procedure and different piece of equipment than is used for an endoscopy that would be used to assess ulcers, celiac, etc. This is only used fora procedure that deals with the pancreas, so it adds a fluoroscopy, it is called Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP). Unless you are getting this procedure done, it is very unlikely your doctor would needlessly use this more complicated piece of equipment.

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    This does not apply to celiac screening. How irresponsible to be posting shock articles that make people shy away from getting needed medical care. This is a different procedure and different piece of equipment than is used for an endoscopy that would be used to assess ulcers, celiac, etc. This is only used fora procedure that deals with the pancreas, so it adds a fluoroscopy, it is called Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP). Unless you are getting this procedure done, it is very unlikely your doctor would needlessly use this more complicated piece of equipment.

    The long process that most celiacs endure to get properly diagnosed lead many of them to get all sorts of unnecessary medical tests done--several different scopes were done on me--not just the one that diagnosed my celiac disease, so this article should be relevant to all people who may undergo such a procedure. Further, it is now breaking news that many states do not even have to report infections caused my their scopes--even when they know it. Six years ago 15 people died in FL from this: http://endoscopereprocessing.com/2015/02/bloomberg-business-superbug-scopes-in-ucla-case-linked-to-florida-deaths-years-ago/ but most people don't know due to that state's rules that protect the hospitals. It seems to me that any device that doctors and the FDA has determined to be "unsanitizable" should not be put in humans.

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    Most celiacs do not have this type of endoscopy. This type is used for checking bile ducts and pancreas.

    Yes, but most celiacs have tons of unrelated side tests, scopes and screening done because their doctors can't figure out their issue. The average time to diagnosis is still 7 years.

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    ALL scopes are very difficult to properly clean. The rate for contaminated scopes is only slightly better for gastroscopes at 24 percent found contaminated. Compare that with 30 percent for duodenoscopes and the risks of serious infections is essentially equal for all upper GI procedures.

    Celiac diagnosis is just as dangerous. Simply because it has not happened does not mean it won't. Sticking our heads in the sand until someone is infected with a chronic infection or lifelong illness in addiction to celiac is not going to improve our risks.

    Here is the information posted by the Association for Professionals in Infections Control:

    “In an abstract to be presented at the 40th Annual Conference of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC), researchers in the 3M Infection Prevention Division analyzed 275 flexible duodenoscopes, gastroscopes, and colonoscopes and found that 30 percent, 24 percent, and 3 percent respectively did not pass a cleanliness rating www.infectioncontroltoday.com/news/2013/06/3-out-of-20-scopes-harbor-bioburden-study-shows.aspx.

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    I refused to get the endoscopy to confirm my celiac diagnosis. A year before, our local hospital had to notify hundreds of patients that they were exposed to Aids, Hepatitis C and other deadly diseases, because they had endoscopy procedures done with improperly cleaned scopes. Many people did become ill because of it. I am so glad I passed on having the scope test. I can be totally gluten free without taking the added risk to my health from a dirty scope.

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    Is this article legit??? This is not applicable to celiacs!!! It's not applicable to routine endoscopy procedures as far as I can tell. What are your sources?

    Tes this is legit. My friend works at UCLA, and there was also an outbreak at Cedars hospital.

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    ALL scopes are very difficult to properly clean. The rate for contaminated scopes is only slightly better for gastroscopes at 24 percent found contaminated. Compare that with 30 percent for duodenoscopes and the risks of serious infections is essentially equal for all upper GI procedures.

    Celiac diagnosis is just as dangerous. Simply because it has not happened does not mean it won't. Sticking our heads in the sand until someone is infected with a chronic infection or lifelong illness in addiction to celiac is not going to improve our risks.

    Here is the information posted by the Association for Professionals in Infections Control:

    “In an abstract to be presented at the 40th Annual Conference of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC), researchers in the 3M Infection Prevention Division analyzed 275 flexible duodenoscopes, gastroscopes, and colonoscopes and found that 30 percent, 24 percent, and 3 percent respectively did not pass a cleanliness rating www.infectioncontroltoday.com/news/2013/06/3-out-of-20-scopes-harbor-bioburden-study-shows.aspx.

    Thank you well said!

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams is Celiac.com's senior writer and Digital Content Director. He earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,000 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in biology, anatomy, medicine, science, and advanced research, and scientific methods. He previously served as SF Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and devised health and medical content for Sharecare.com. Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book "Cereal Killers" by Scott Adams and Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.

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