The move to reconvene the Kilmer Conference in May 2016 comes after a spate of sometimes deadly "superbug" infections in endoscopes made global headlines earlier this year. New Brunswick, N.J.-based Johnson & Johnson said the 8 conference it hosted between 1976 and 2003 focused on advances in sterilization, validation methods and world health issues.
The topic hearkens back to the 129-year-old company’s roots in sterilization and infection prevention. The Kilmer Conference is named for Fred Kilmer, who led J&J’s research lab from 1889 to 1934.
Johnson & Johnson pledged to donate the records from all past conferences to the Assn. for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation, for compilation in an e-book on the association’s website. The conference proceedings served as the blueprint for the AAMI’s guidelines, J&J said.
Sterility assurance vice president Joyce Hansen said past Kilmer Conferences were instrumental in developing her field.
"Real innovation happened there. All of the concepts and technical research first presented at Kilmer Conferences are still in use today," Hansen said in prepared remarks. "The historical proceedings reveal a history of innovation and are a guide for where we need to go."
In February and March duodenoscopes made by Olympus (TYO:7733) were implicated in dozens of hospital-acquired infections across the country. In Seattle, 31 people infected at the Virginia Mason Medical Center between 2012 and 2014. Eleven of those people eventually died. All were critically ill when they were infected, and it was unclear if the bacterial infection contributed to their deaths, according to Seattle public health officials.
Four patients in March were infected with bacteria from a contaminated scope and 67 more were at risk at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, weeks after UCLA Ronald Reagan hospital reported 7 patients were similarly infected and scores more potentially exposed.
Across the country in Connecticut, Hartford Hospital reported a similar outbreak involving at least 5 infections and more than 280 potential exposures.
Between 2013 and 2014, the FDA said it received reports of 135 possible microbial transmission from reprocessed duodenoscopes. The federal safety watchdog is slated to convene a special meeting of its gastroenterology & urology devices panel May 14-15 to discuss the transmission of "superbug" infections through endoscopy procedures in U.S. hospitals.