Often, when an infection outbreak occurs in a hospital, health investigators keep the outbreak quiet in order to encourage hospitals to self-report the situation. However, those policies, according to several researchers, place patients at greater risk of infection.
A recent series of infections at several hospitals has spotlighted the secrecy that occurs, when there are infectious outbreaks in American hospitals. In 2008, a hospital in Florida saw an outbreak of carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae (CRE) that was ultimately linked to tainted duodenoscopes. Hospital officials reported the outbreak to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and discussed it with the Food And Drug Administration, but the outbreak was not publicly disclosed. Two years later, doctors investigated the problem in a medical journal.
A few months ago, a similar outbreak linked to contaminated duodenoscopes was traced to CRE outbreaks at the UCLA and Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Just as in the case of the Florida outbreak, the Los Angeles outbreaks were also linked to improperly sterilized duodenoscopes.