We are no strangers to E.Coli. The bacteria is naturally present in our soil, water, and digestive tracts, as well as contaminating our food supply every now and then. E.Coli — along with Salmonella, Klebsiella, and a host more — all belong to the Enterobacteriaceae family of bacteria, which are becoming harder to treat due to their increasing resistance to common antibiotics over the years.
Select strains of enterobacteriaceae-based infections, such as klebsiella pneumoniae, have grown immune to the treatment of routine antibiotics, and ultimately to carbapenems (a broad spectrum class of antibiotics), which is the last resort regimen. This progressive resistance to available antibiotics has resulted in the development of “superbug” Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae, or CRE — a nightmare scenario for public health and healthcare officials. CRE infections are most common in healthcare settings among individuals with already serious conditions; it has a high rate of morbidity and mortality, killing up to 50% of infected patients. At present, CRE is not a reportable disease, but it is present in 42 U.S. states as determined by two surveillance systems, the Emerging Infections Program and National Healthcare Safety Network which track healthcare-associated infections; this map indicates CRE trends and prevalence in the U.S.
The CDC has issued a Health Advisory urging healthcare professionals and facilities to take extra preventative measures to safeguard against CRE’s spread. Uniform reporting requirements would help in making CRE more readily traceable among healthcare institutions and communities.
Data Source: www.cdc.gov/hai