An increase in cases of the CRE superbug, a rare and sometimes fatal bacteria, has caused US health officials to issue renewed warnings for healthcare providers in an effort to prevent further contamination among patients.
Certain strains of CRE, Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, are resistant to nearly every type of antibiotic. New research suggests that CRE can remain in a patient’s system for more than a year, increasing the risk of transmission between individuals.
NBC News writes that an alarming number of rare types of the CRE superbug have recently been reported in the US. The most significant outbreak domestically occurred last summer in Colorado.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued renewed warnings this month in an effort to control future spread of the drug-resistant organism. It detailed the increase in rare forms of the CRE superbug in its report as follows:
“While still uncommon, reports of unusual forms of CRE (e.g., New Delhi Metallo-β-lactamase and Verona Integron-mediated Metallo-β-lactamase) in the United States are increasing. Of the 37 unusual forms of CRE that have been reported in the United States, the last 15 have been reported since July, 2012.”
The longevity of CRE in an individual’s system may be fostering the spread of the superbug. New research suggests that patients may still be infected long after they are released from medical facilities.
According to Science Daily, a team from Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem recently studied follow-up cultures from nearly 100 CRE-positive patients who had been discharged from the center during a two year period. Their research found that CRE patients took an average of 387 days following hospital discharge to be clear of the organism.
By releasing its renewed warnings, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention seeks to increase awareness about what could become a volatile health situation. Dr. Alex Kallen, a medical epidemiologist and outbreak response coordinator with the agency, expressed the following to NBC News:
“I can’t predict the future, of course, but there is a concern that we can see more of these as they spread. This can become a community bug.”
You can read the renewed CRE superbug warning by visiting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention official website.