Wednesday, February 27, 2013

It’s called CRE and it kills!

The scientific name is Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae or CRE, and it’s a killer with virtually no drugs to stop it! Even the CDC is currently at a loss to describe the scope of the problem; having issued an alert this date to clinicians nationwide.

This superbug belongs to a once obscure family of drug-resistant bacteria that has stalked the corridors of U.S. hospitals and nursing homes for over a decade. Today it is a persistent and growing problem all across the country with doctors trying one antibiotic after another to no avail. The bacteria are named for their ability to fight off carbapenem antibiotics -- the last line of defense in the medical toolbox. Death rates among patients with CRE infections can be as high as 40%, far worse than other, better-known health care infections such as MRSA or C-Diff, which have plagued hospitals and nursing homes for many years.

Since the first known case, at a North Carolina hospital, was reported in 2001, CRE’s have spread to at least 41 other states, according to the CDC. And many cases still go unrecognized, because it can be tough to do the proper laboratory analysis, particularly at smaller hospitals or nursing homes!

The question in everyone’s mind is will this elusive bacteria escape the confines of health facilities to set up shop in local communities and so with potentially devastating effects!

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