CRE, a drug-resistant bacteria, is lethal

March 5, 2013 at 5:20 PM   |   Comments

ATLANTA, March 5 (UPI) -- Drug-resistant germs are on the rise in U.S. hospitals and have become more resistant to last-resort antibiotics during the past decade, U.S. officials say.

A Vital Signs report of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta said carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, known as CRE, are causing more hospitalized patients to get infections, in some cases, are impossible to treat.

The report said CRE are lethal bacteria that pose a triple threat because:

-- CRE are resistant to all, or nearly all, antibiotics even the most powerful drugs of last-resort.

-- CRE have high mortality rates. It kills 1-in-2 patients who get bloodstream infections from them.

-- CRE easily transfer their antibiotic resistance to other bacteria. For example, carbapenem-resistant klebsiella can spread its drug-destroying weapons to a normal E. coli bacteria, which makes the E.coli resistant to antibiotics also. That could create a nightmare scenario since E. coli is the most common cause of urinary tract infections in healthy people.

"Currently, almost all CRE infections occur in people receiving significant medical care. CRE are usually transmitted from person-to-person, often on the hands of healthcare workers," the report said.

"In 2012, CDC released a concise, practical CRE prevention tool kit with in-depth recommendations to control CRE transmission in hospitals, long-term acute care facilities and nursing homes."

CRE can be carried by patients from one healthcare setting to another, therefore, facilities are encouraged to work together, using a regional "Detect and Protect" approach, to implement CRE prevention programs, the report said.

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