An increased number of hospital patients are suffering from deadly infections caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports in a March 5 press release. Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) infections kill up to half the people infected with the bacteria. The percentage of CRE cases has increased by 400 percent over the past decade. In the nation, the northeastern states have reported the most cases of CRE.
“CRE are nightmare bacteria. Our strongest antibiotics don’t work and patients are left with potentially untreatable infections,” — CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H.
According to the CDC, healthy people generally are not at risk. Incidents of infection are most common among people being treated for other conditions. Most at risk are people that require the use of medical devices such as ventilators and catheters. Patients taking a long course of some antibiotics are also at risk.
The CDC alert is urging health care facilities to take extra measures to prevent the further spread of CRE. Individuals can help fight the spread of these bacteria by informing their doctors if they have been hospitalized in another facility. For personal protection, take only prescribed amounts of antibiotics, and insist that anyone caring for you in a health facility wash their hands before touching you.