Following reports of carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) bacteria infections linked to endoscopic procedures performed at various hospitals, including  Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center earlier in the year, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reported on complaints of at least 16 patients who contracted a Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection, of which some resulted in abscesses, after undergoing an endoscopic procedure with Olympus endoscopes.


Olympus Medical Systems Corporation in Tokyo received a FDA warning letter concerning this issue last week.

One hospital in Pasadena, Huntington Memorial Hospital, has reportedly quarantined endoscopes manufactured by Olympus after an unspecified number of patients contracted the bacterial infection.

What is Pseudomonas aeruginosa?

According to the Todar’s Online Textbook of Bacteriology, Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an opportunistic pathogen, meaning that it exploits some break in the host defenses to initiate an infection. In fact, Pseudomonas aeruginosa is the epitome of an opportunistic pathogen of humans. The bacterium almost never infects uncompromised tissues, yet there is hardly any tissue that it cannot infect if the tissue defenses are compromised in some manner.

It causes urinary tract infections, respiratory system infections, dermatitis, soft tissue infections, bacteremia, bone and joint infections, gastrointestinal infections and a variety of systemic infections, particularly in patients with severe burns and in cancer and AIDS patients who are immunosuppressed.

Robert Herriman is a microbiologist and the Editor-in-Chief of Outbreak News Today

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