Contaminated Scopes Infect 48 Patients; 3 Have Died

CNN – Three people died and 45 people developed infections from dirty endoscopes, the Food and Drug Administration said on Friday.

The reports of contamination are with a side-viewing duodenoscope used for a medical procedure called endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography or ERCP.

“These flexible lighted scopes are vital for minimally invasive procedures to diagnose and treat conditions of the pancreas and bile duct,” said Dr. Jeff Shuren, director of the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health.

The reusable scopes, which are made by three manufacturers — Fujifilm Medical Systems USA Inc., Olympus Medical Systems Corporation and Pentax of America — are known to be difficult to decontaminate.

They have been linked to deadly outbreaks of the superbug carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, or CRE. The contamination issues result from damaged scopes and improper decontamination.

In 2015, the FDA required the manufacturers to conduct post-market surveillance studies to fix the problem.

The agency said Friday, “The preliminary results as of March 2019 indicate higher than expected levels of contamination.”

In December, the FDA said the number of infections and instances of contamination found on devices had declined as a result of safety measures put in place in 2015.

“Our analysis of medical device reports associated with patient infections for duodenoscope indicates that the number of medical device reports peaked in 2015 at 250 reports and declined 62% to fewer than 100 reports per year in 2017,” according to a safety communication issued by the FDA on Friday.

But new reports of contaminated devices and patient infections emerged “late in 2018,” the agency said.

Among 205 medical device reports that were submitted between October 15 and March 31, there were 45 reports of patient infections, one report of a patient who was exposed to infection but did not become sick, and 159 reports of devices that were contaminated. Read more. 



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