7 Infected, 2 Dead, Nearly 200 Exposed After 'Superbug' Outbreak at Los Angeles Hospital

Posted at 8:22 AM, Feb 19, 2015
and last updated 2015-02-19 03:24:17-05

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Hospital officials say contaminated medical instruments are to blame for infecting seven patients - including two who died - with an antibiotic-resistant and potentially deadly "superbug" at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.

The University of California, Los Angeles says the bacteria may have been a "contributing factor" in the two deaths.

A total of 179 patients may be infected, and the university says those patients are being sent free home-testing kits that UCLA will analyze.

They were exposed to something known as CRE (Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae) during endoscopic procedures between October and January. UCLA says the two medical devices carried the bacteria even though they were sterilized according to the manufacturer's specifications.

Similar outbreaks of CRE have been reported around the nation. They are difficult to treat because some varieties are resistant to most known antibiotics.