Superbug Outbreak at UCLA Hospital

The outbreak of drug-resistant CRE bacteria at UCLA's Ronald Reagan Hospital reminds us that the dangers of antibiotic resistant bacteria is very real. 

Food & farming

Anya Vanecek

According to media reports this week, up to 180 patients may have been exposed to a potentially deadly superbug from contaminated medical scopes used at UCLA’s Ronald Reagan Medical Center. Two deaths were linked to the outbreak, with an additional 7 confirmed infections. [1]

Outbreaks like this one remind us how dangerous antibiotic-resistant bacteria can be. And the problem is only going to get worse unless we take serious action to stop the growth and spread of these superbugs.

The Review on Antimicrobial Resistance, commissioned by United Kingdom president David Cameron and released in December, predicts that by 2050 antibiotic-resistant infections will kill more people than cancer – up to 10 million people worldwide [2]. Contributors to the problem from all industries must help prevent this threat from becoming reality. That is why we are calling on large purchasers of meat in the retail industry like McDonalds to help save antibiotics by stopping to buy meat raised with the routine use of antibiotics. 

Up to 70% of all antibiotics used in the U.S. are used on healthy livestock. This practice promotes growth and prevents diseases common in factory farm conditions. The cost? Exposing animals – and their bacteria – to continuous, low doses of antibiotics creates opportunities for bacteria to become resistant to that antibiotic, spread, and infect people.

While farms may not have been the source of superbugs at UCLA, curbing the reckless overuse in agriculture is critical to keep our life-saving medicines effective and preventing more outbreaks like this. 

 You can help by taking action now. Pleas help us call on McDonald’s to stop their purchase of meat raised with routine antibiotics


[1] Superbug linked to 2 deaths at UCLA hospital; 179 potentially exposed. Los Angeles Times. February 18, 2015.
[2] The Review on Antimicrobial Resistance. Dec, 2014.…




Anya Vanecek

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