Timeline of scope-related outbreaks

An Olympus duodenoscope is cleaned in the GI unit at USC Medical Center. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

An Olympus duodenoscope is cleaned in the GI unit at USC Medical Center. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Recent events involving scope-related outbreaks of antibiotic-resistant superbug infections


August: Japanese device maker Olympus Corp. introduces its TJF-Q180V duodenoscope.



April 23: An Olympus employee dismantles a duodenoscope suspected of infecting 22 patients at a Netherlands hospital.

June 27: An independent expert’s report on the Netherlands outbreak calls on Olympus to conduct a worldwide investigation and possibly recall the scopes if more contaminated devices are found.

Dec. 4: Olympus visits the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center after being alerted to apparent scope-related infections.


January: Olympus issues “important safety advice” in Europe for the TJF-Q180V duodenoscope after infections in the Netherlands. There’s no notification in the U.S.

November: Olympus visits Virginia Mason Medical Center to review the Seattle hospital’s scope cleaning practices; an outbreak is later confirmed.


August: Olympus sends a second safety alert in Europe after receiving complaints about tainted scopes.

Oct. 3: A UCLA patient carrying the CRE superbug undergoes a scope procedure with an Olympus device; the instrument remains contaminated after cleaning.

Dec. 14: UCLA begins investigating a superbug infection in a female patient who was treated with an Olympus scope.


Jan. 28: UCLA ties patient infections to the Olympus devices, temporarily halts use of the scope.

Feb. 18: Los Angeles Times first reports the UCLA outbreak.

Feb. 19: The Food and Drug Administration warns U.S. hospitals about scopes spreading deadly bacteria.

March 4: Cedars-Sinai Medical Center reports four patients who had been infected by Olympus scopes.

March 26: Olympus issues new cleaning instructions to U.S. customers, similar to its European guidelines in 2013.

May 8: The U.S. Justice Department is investigating Olympus’ role in outbreaks, the company confirms.

May 15: An FDA panel says that duodenoscopes are unsafe but that they should remain in use because no alternative is available.

June 9: Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) demands details from Olympus on its response to infection reports, as part of a congressional investigation.

Aug. 17: The FDA cites Olympus and two other scope manufacturers for safety violations, including the failure to report potential injuries and deaths within 30 days.

Aug. 19: The Times reports that Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena is investigating several patient infections tied to Olympus scopes.

Sept. 17: The FDA expands its warning, saying contaminated bronchoscopes made by Olympus and other companies may pose a risk to patients.

Sources: Olympus, Times reporting, hospitals