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‘Nightmare bacteria’ superbug alarming after massive Chicago outbreak

Illinois has seen 44 cases of a nightmare bacteria superbug that is resistant to antibiotics.
Illinois has seen 44 cases of a nightmare bacteria superbug that is resistant to antibiotics.
WikiMedia Commons

A “nightmare bacteria” outbreak traced to a Chicago-area hospital has fear rapidly spreading because of the superbug’s resistance to antibiotics, the Chicago Tribune reported on Jan. 10.

The so-called nightmare bacteria is scientifically known as carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae. This nightmare bacteria is resistant to a class of antibiotics used as a last-resort treatment for seriously ill people, making it difficult to kill off infections with the superbug.

A massive cluster outbreak of the nightmare bacteria superbug has resulted in at least 44 people being infected so far in Illinois in the past year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Infection.

Now, Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, a Chicago suburb, is issuing a plea for any patients who underwent a specific endoscopic procedure between January and September 2013 to be screened for the nightmare bacteria, the Tribune said. The hospital has so far identified 38 patients who have tested positive for carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae.

Altogether, 44 people in Illinois are confirmed as being infected with the nightmare bacteria superbug, making it the largest outbreak of its kind in the U.S.

According to Fox News, a CDC official called the outbreak a “huge cluster” and noted that previously, only 97 cases of the nightmare bacteria had been reported to the CDC since 2009.

Deaths possibly related to the nightmare bacteria superbug haven’t been reported yet, the Huffington Post said.

The CDC detailed the nightmare bacteria outbreak in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Learn more about who is at risk of the nightmare bacteria and symptoms of infection with carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae at the CDC site.

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