Eye on Superbugs Part 3: CRE


Written by: Selective Micro Technologies 

green CRE superbugIn this series “Eye on Superbugs,” we have discussed several types of superbugs, which are highly resistant to antibiotics. We are continuing on with that theme this week as we explore the superbug CRE. This infection is deadly, and unfortunately, there are limited treatment options available due to the superbugs extreme resistance to powerful antibiotics.

CRE: What is it?

Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae or CRE, is another HAI (healthcare-acquired/associated infection) that is highly resistant to antibiotics. Luckily, infections like this are not typically contracted by healthy people. They are, however, contracted by people who are receiving medical interventions in healthcare settings. When medical devices are introduced into the body, like an IV, catheter, or breathing tube, they are creating an open pathway for infection to enter into the body. The infection also enters the body through open wounds and surgical incision sites. Your skin is your best defense against these organisms, only as long as it is intact and uncompromised. 

The threat of a CRE infection is that carbapenem antibiotics are typically the last resort antibiotics. This severely limits how the doctors can treat sick patients and the types of medications available to do so. Another issue with CRE infections is that there are multiple varieties. “Types of CRE are sometimes known as KPC (Klebsiella pneumoniae carbapenemase) and NDM (New Delhi Metallo-beta-lactamase). KPC and NDM carry enzymes that break down carbapenems and make them ineffective” (CDC). Seeing different types of this strain means that the genes are mutating within this bacteria to adapt to become immune to different kinds of antibiotics, thus creating a whole new bug with each mutation.

A story on USA Today showcases and explains CRE more in-depth and can be found here: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2012/11/29/bacteria-deadly-hospital-infection/1727667/

Fast facts on CRE:

  1. Patients found to have an Enterobacteriaceae infection should be tested to see if they could possibly have a CRE infection.
  2. There are not many drugs available on the market known to be effective at treating CRE infections.
  3. Good hand hygiene is one of the simplest ways to prevent the spread of infection.
  4. It is reported that CRE contributes to death in up to 50% of patients who have become infected.
  5. Patients found with CRE should be put in isolation to help prevent the spread of this infection to other patients.
  6. CDC- “CRE cause a variety of diseases, ranging from pneumonia to urinary tract infections, to serious bloodstream or wound infections. The symptoms vary depending on the disease. CRE infection typically occurs in ill patients and patients with exposure to acute and long-term care settings.”

Want help preventing CRE? Contact us today to find out more!