CDC issues interim duodenoscope protocols

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In response to several reports of bacterial infections tied to duodenoscopes, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has developed interim protocols for facilities that want to test the scopes for contamination after the disinfection process.

"The fact that recent outbreaks have occurred without identified lapses of infection control is a call for action," wrote Michael Bell, MD, deputy director of CDC's Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion, in a blog post.

The protocol gives facilities a plan for how to sample the scopes and test the samples in a lab. Dr. Bell emphasized that the culturing interim protocol is not meant to replace carefully disinfecting the scopes in the first place. "But it might be a way to detect contamination, whether due to lack of adherence to manufacturer-recommended reprocessing practices or any other reason, and to prompt follow-up action to protect patients if needed."

Outbreaks of carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae have been linked to duodenoscopes at various healthcare facilities recently, which has prompted some hospitals and health systems to start culturing the scopes before returning them to the patient pool. Earlier this month, the ECRI Institute recommended culturing duodenoscopes as a way to prevent infections.

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