Drug Resistant Bacteria Linked to Hard-to-Clean Medical Scopes

Health care providers have been warned that difficult-to-clean medical scopes that are inserted down the throat, might be to blame for infecting patients with a deadly drug-resistant bacteria.

The Food and Drug Administration issued an alert after a number of patients had fallen ill, with a superbug, known as CRE, that is resistant to even last-resort antibiotics.

The CRE family of germs usually strike in patients receiving medical care in hospital or nursing homes. Healthy people are rarely affected, but these bugs do strike broadly, not limited to people with compromised immune systems.

The latest concern is centered around an instrument called a duodenoscope, used to diagnose and treat live diseases, bile duct issues and pancreas problems. The device itself pose little risk, but the design contains crevices that are near impossible to clean effectively.

There are currently no alternative devices on the market, so the F.D.A believes stopping distribution or recalling all product would have a greater negative effect on public health.