'Nightmare Bacteria' Causing Blood Infections In US

Todd Rigney

Nightmare bacteria is causing blood infections in patients at several US hospitals.

Experts say the bacteria has proven to be resistant to the strongest antibiotics doctors currently have to offer. As a result, nearly four percent of hospital patients were infected during the first half of 2012. This number is reportedly higher in specialty hospitals.

According to Fox News, this nightmare bacteria has given patients blood infections for which there is currently no treatment.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr. Tom Frieden said health officials need to work together to find a solution to this problem.

The Washington Post explains that doctors and physicians feel this nightmare bacteria is a growing threat to patients in US hospitals and nursing homes.

Carbapenen-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) hasn't spread beyond these institutions just yet. Doctors and health officials are working to find a solution to the problem before this happens.

Dr. Frieden explained:

"It's not often that our scientists come to me and say we have a very serious problem and we need to sound an alarm. But that's exactly what we are doing today. Our strongest antibiotics don't work, and patients are left with potentially untreatable infections."

According to the WebMD, half of the patients who contract this nightmare bacteria die because of the blood infection it causes. To make matters worse, CRE can cause other bacteria to become resistant to antibiotics.

Blood Infections

States in the Northeast have reported more outbreaks of CRE than any other section of the country. The worst case involved around 18 patients. Sadly, seven of these individuals died as a result of the blood infection caused by the nightmare bacteria.

Although CRE is proving to be a very serious and deadly problem, Dr. Frieden said health officials can prevent the spread of the bacteria if they act fast.

He explained:

"The good news is we now have an opportunity to prevent its further spread. We only have a limited window of opportunity to stop this infection from spreading to the community and spreading to more organisms."

The nightmare bacteria is problematic for those who are forced to stay in hospitals for extended periods of time. A patient has a much higher risk of getting this deadly blood infection the longer they stay inside the hospital.

In the meantime, officials are asking that hospital staff group those with CRE together in order to keep them from infecting other patients. The CDC has also advised that doctors use antibiotics carefully.

Are you worried about this nightmare bacteria?