Lethal, Drug-Resistant Bacteria Spreading in U.S. Healthcare Facilities

Drug-resistant germs called carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, or CRE, are on the rise and have become more resistant to last-resort antibiotics during the past decade, according to the CDC.  These bacteria are causing more hospitalized patients to get infections that, in some cases, are impossible to treat. 

CRE are lethal bacteria that pose a triple threat:

  • Resistance: CRE are resistant to all, or nearly all, the antibiotics we have – even our most powerful drugs of last-resort.
  • Death: CRE have high mortality rates – CRE germs kill 1 in 2 patients who get bloodstream infections from them.
  • Spread of disease:  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

The CDC makes the following recommendations for healthcare providers:

  • Know if patients in your facility have CRE.
    • Request immediate alerts when the lab identifies CRE.
    • Alert the receiving facility when a patient with CRE transfers, and find out when a patient with CRE transfers into your facility.
  • Protect your patients from CRE.

    • Follow contact precautions and hand hygiene recommendations when treating patients with CRE.
    • Dedicate rooms, staff, and equipment to patients with CRE.
    • Prescribe antibiotics wisely.
    • Remove temporary medical devices such as catheters and ventilators from patients as soon as possible.

Read the report.

 

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