A superbug infection can originate in a number of ways, but it often occurs after a patient has undergone an endoscopic procedure. An endoscope is a thin tube equipped with a camera and light that a doctor inserts into the patient to evaluate problems in the lungs, joints, colon and small intestine, bladder, rectum, or pancreas and bile ducts.
In 2014 and 2015 several hospitals reported small-scale outbreaks of superbug infections, including CRE; the factor that the patients had in common was that an endoscope had been used.
An estimated 180 or more patients got infected with CRE at UCLA’s Los Angeles teaching hospital. And from June 2001 through February 2002, numerous endoscope procedures at Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins University Hospital led to infections with the superbug pseudomonas, which is a common cause of skin rashes and ear infections in children. The infection is usually mild, but there are dangerous strains of it.