What is a Superbug?

There is a bug lurking around over 200 hospital and long-term acute corridors nationwide.  The bug is so lethal that it kills up to 50% of patients who get bloodstream infections.  Dr. Thomas Friedan, the director of the CDC, refers to CRE as “nightmare bacteria.”

A call for immediate action by the CDC has been issued to all U.S. health care settings to “detect and protect” against the bacteria that is virtually impossible to stop.

What is CRE?

CRE also known as Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae causes an array of infections such as pneumonia, bloodstream, wound, and urinary tract infections.  Unfortunately, the strongest antibiotics a hospital can dispense will still not stop the infection.

Who is at risk for CRE?

The people who are at risk for CRE include:

  • Patients with chronic medical conditions
  • Patients that are in for extended stays in a healthcare setting.
  • Patients that have invasive medical devices such as ventilators or intravenous catheters.
  • Long term history of taking antibiotics.

How to prevent CRE

It takes a partnership of healthcare providers and the community to control the outbreak of CRE.  CDC officials urge healthcare providers to follow the CDC’s universal prevention guidelines.  In addition, the consumer can help prevent the development and spread of CRE by being good stewards of their antibiotic use.  It is important to take prescribed antibiotics as directed and to not ask for antibiotics for viral infections such as a cold.

As a consumer, it is extremely important that your healthcare provider, in either the hospital setting or the long-term care facility, practice the standard precautions for infection control.   Hospitals and long-term settings have strict procedures for hand sanitization and handling of bodily fluids. Therefore, it is important to observe and hold the clinicians and the healthcare setting accountable. It is acceptable to remind healthcare providers to wash their hands when they enter your loved one’s room.   For additional information check out the CDC website: http://www.cdc.gov/hai/organisms/cre/index.html


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I am passionate about sharing senior citizen news and resources discovered from both my profession and personal journey.

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