Contaminated endoscopes are suspected of causing a deadly outbreak of the superbug CRE (carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae) at UCLA hospital in California, where at least 7 patients have been infected and 2 have died.
Several other hospitals around the country have reported incidents of infection following ERCP procedures over the past couple of years.
In February, 2015, the FDA issued a warning that ERCP endoscopes may allow for the transmission of certain drug-resistant superbugs. According to the FDA, the design of the scope may make effective cleaning difficult, as the device features crevices that can harbor pathogens, such as CRE and E-coli. The ERCP procedure is used to diagnose and treat problems in the pancreas, gall bladder, and bile ducts.