Superbug cases reported in North Carolina; 1 dead

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(CNN) — The same superbug that contributed to two deaths in Los Angeles has been reported in North Carolina, where one person has died, a spokesman told CNN.

Eighteen people have contracted carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, or CRE, so far this year, said Kevin McCarthy, spokesman with the Carolinas HealthCare System.

Of those, 15 had CRE upon admission to the hospital in Charlotte; three acquired it in the hospital, and one died, the spokesman said. The cause of death was not immediately clear.

McCarthy declined to provide details on any of the patients. It was also not clear how any of them became infected.

In Los Angeles, seven patients contracted CRE after routine endoscopic procedures.

Two of them died, the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center said last week. CRE was a contributing factor in the deaths, but the exact cause of the deaths wasn’t immediately disclosed in those cases either.

Hospital officials there have said the outbreak was caused by two medical scopes that still carried the deadly bacteria even though disinfection guidelines were followed.

The UCLA hospital was using a duodenoscope made by Olympus, but the Food and Drug Administration is also reviewing data from the two other U.S. companies that make the devices, Fujifilm and Pentax.

The medical center is contacting 179 others who underwent endoscopic procedures between October and January. It’s offering them home tests to screen for the bacteria.

In a statement, McCarthy said Carolinas HealthCare System uses standard methods for disinfecting its equipment, saying that all duodenoscopes that have been tested have shown to be negative for CRE.

Some CRE bacteria can resist most antibiotics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says on its website.

CNN’s Ben Tinker, Michael Martinez and Steve Almasy contributed to this report.

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