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December 22, 2015: Olympus Corp. May Have Known of Duodenoscope Superbug Outbreak Risk

According to a December 19, 2015 L.A. Times exposé, Olympus Corp. may have knowingly continued to sell its duodenoscopes even after learning of an alleged design flaw that could lead to the spread of dangerous infections. The risk of a duodenoscope superbug outbreak was first detected in 2012, in a hospital in the Netherlands in which 22 patients were sickened by the “superbug”, a kind of multidrug-resistant bacteria.
Investigation of the duodenoscope superbug outbreak in this Dutch hospital found the Olympus devices to be the source of the infection. Olympus Corp., however, never chose to share these findings with the U.S. hospitals to which they supplied duodenoscopes.

Over the next three years, at least 65 people were sickened, of which 21 died, from infections related to duodenoscopes in Pittsburgh, Seattle and Los Angeles. So far, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), has identified seven superbug outbreaks connected to Olympus duodenoscopes.


The Weinberg Law Firm is currently accepting Duodenoscope-linked infection personal injury cases nationwide. If you or someone you know has suffered a CRE infection (also called a “Superbug Infection”) after undergoing ERCP with a reprocessed duodenoscope, please contact our firm toll free at 1-877-934-6274 for a free legal case evaluation. You can also submit our online “Free Legal Case Evaluation Form” to contact one of our lawyers.

Duodenoscope Superbug Outbreak Information

The allegedly compromised Olympus duodenoscope connected to these outbreaks was a newer model, advertised as being easier to clean. According to the FDA, the company cited hospitals not following the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions as the culprit in cases of duodenoscope superbug outbreaks, not any design flaw.

In the investigation following the superbug outbreak in the hospital in the Netherlands, however, an Olympus technician found contaminates within a “sealed” part of the duodenoscope mechanism, a part which could not be accessed to be cleaned. The same bacteria that had sickened the patients were also found on this duodenoscope.

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