EtO Sterilization Being Used to Combat California Superbug

Press Release from MadgeTech Inc

Concerns are being raised at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center as patients are being infected with carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae (CRE) bacteria after having endoscopic procedures. At the moment, seven patients have been infected, causing two to die, and over 175 other patients have been exposed to the bacteria.

Because of the shape of the endoscopes, they can be difficult to clean and therefore become breeding grounds for harmful pathogens. This means that infections are easily passed from one patient to the next.

 All endoscopes are required to be disinfected between each use which involves using a disinfectant solution. However, since the outbreak, UCLA has added a step of sterilizing the endoscopes after disinfection using ethylene oxide to ensure complete elimination of the CRE. Because the bacteria is resistant to many antibiotics, it is important to assure that all traces have been fully depleted to prevent the spread of the bacteria.

 Ethylene Oxide (EtO or EO) is a powerful chemical that can permeate otherwise difficult to reach places, making it ideal for the task of eliminating the harmful bacteria. As more cases are reported, the risk of spreading the harmful disease continues to grow, however, with the use of EtO sterilization, patients can begin to once again feel assured that the devices are sterile and safe.

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