CRE Superbug Resists Antibiotics, Takes One Year To Die Off Says Latest Study [REPORT]

By iScienceTimes Staff on February 27, 2013 4:45 PM EST

CRE Superbug
Antibiotic resistant bacteria ia growing threat in the U.S., according to the Center for Disease Control. (Photo: Nature/Everett Kane)

The CRE superbug, which began getting widespread media coverage last year, is a strain of antibiotic resistant bacteria that is contributing to an alarming number of fatalities in U.S. hospitals.  The dangerous bacteria is called CRE -- Carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae, because of its ability to elude super-strong carbapenem antibiotics. There are many forms of CRE, but of the 37 forms reported in the U.S., 15 have been reported in less than a year. The CDC said the increase in CRE means health care providers need to be vigilant in recognizing and treating the CRE superbug.

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"(CRE) are a serious threat to public health. Infections with CRE are difficult to treat and have been associated with mortality rates as high as 40-50 percent. Due to the movement of patients throughout the healthcare system, if CRE are a problem in one facility, then typically they are a problem in other facilities in the region as well," the CDC said on its website.

The CRE superbug is so dangerous that the CDC has put together a toolkit for hospitals to help them deal with the threat.  Adding to the threat posed by the CRE superbug is a recent study in the American Journal of Infection Control that revealed the bacteria can survive in the body for over a year. The study was conducted by the Saare Zedek Medical Center where the research team analyzed follow up tests from 97 CRE-positive patients.

"The average time until cultures became negative was 387 days. At three months, 78 percent of patients remained culture positive; at six months, 65 percent remained positive; at nine months, 51 percent, and at one year 39 percent of patients remained positive, meaning they could potentially become re-infected or transmit the germ to others," researchers wrote in the study.

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