The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is alerting clinicians of an emerging untreatable multidrug-resistant organism in the United States.
There are many forms of Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE), but of the 37 forms reported in the U.S., 15 have been reported in less than a year.
The CDC said the increase in CRE means health care providers need to “act aggressively to prevent the emergence and spread of these unusual CRE organisms.”
Enterobacteriaceae lives in water, soil and the human gut. These “surperbugs” have developed high levels of resistance to antibiotics – even carbapanems. Individuals who usually develop CRE infections are those who are taking antibiotics and getting significant medical treatment for other conditions.
The majority of CRE were “isolated from patients who received overnight medical treatment outside of the United States,” according to the CDC.
Health care providers that encounter CRE infections should follow the CDC’s recommendations in the 2012 CRE toolkit.
Persons who shared a room with a patient who has a CRE infection – and maybe even health care providers who treated the infected patient – should be screened to make sure they have not caught the infection.
If the infected patient is transferred to another health care facility, the new facility should become aware of the CRE infection. Health care providers who care for infected patients should not treat other non-infected patients.