Seven patients are known to have been infected with the antibiotic-resistant bacteria

By Tara Fowler
Updated February 19, 2015 11:45 AM
Richard Beetham/Splash News Online

Nearly 180 patients at UCLA’s Ronald Reagan Medical Center may have been exposed to an antibiotic-resistant “superbug” from contaminated medical instruments.

Seven patients are known to have been infected with carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) bacteria, the hospital said in a statement Wednesday. Two have died.

The hospital discovered the outbreak in January while running tests on a patient, the Los Angeles Times reports.

This week, as many as 179 patients were notified about their potential exposure to the bacteria, which occurred between October 2014 and January 2015.

The exposure came from contaminated medical scopes used “to diagnose and treat pancreaticobiliary diseases,” the statement said.

Infections with this bacteria can be extremely deadly, contributing to the deaths of up to 50 percent of those infected, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A spokeswoman for the hospital told the Los Angeles Times that “the two scopes involved with the infection were immediately removed and UCLA is now utilizing a decontamination process that goes above and beyond the manufacturer and national standards.”