Deadly CRE Invasion!

In last week’s blog I discussed “superbugs”, a term given to bacteria that evolve toMH900439333 become resistant to some of the most commonly-used antibiotics. Drug resistant bacteria are a growing concern among healthcare professionals and the causes are partially related to overuse of antibiotics in our environment.

Today, I’d like to focus on one specific “superbug”—Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae, or CRE for short. It’s a deadly organism that resists treatment and is on the rise worldwide.

Enterobacteriaceae are microbes from a family of bacteria causing such common ailments as respiratory, intestinal and urinary tract infections.

Carbapenem is an antibiotic that’s been used in the United States since 1985. Bacterial MH900448701resistance occurs when specific bacteria evolve to develop an enzyme that makes them resistant to carbapenem. Such resistant infections are labeled as CRE.

CRE is difficult, and at times impossible, to treat since carbapenem is often the drug of last resort for certain bacterial infections, including e-coli and some pneumonia varieties.

Bacterial resistance to carbapenem was uncommon until about ten years ago. Since that time, there has been a four-fold increase in resistance to treatment. When resistance occurs, there are simply no other antibiotics effective against these infections, and the mortality rate for CRE has been reported as high as 50%.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that almost 92% of CRE occursMH900202069 during hospitalization. That makes healthcare institutions the primary focus for prevention.

In 2012, the CDC developed a CRE Tool Kit for healthcare professionals and institutions to provide guidelines for prevention. The top four prevention strategies included hand hygiene (alcohol-based hand rubs), patient contact precautions, education of personnel and the proper use of devices associated with CRE (such as, venous and urinary catheters).

MH900178467When a New York area hospital implemented the CDC’s CRE guidelines, that hospital reduced the occurrence of CRE by 50%. The country of Israel implemented similar guidelines in all of its hospitals and reduced the incidence of CRE by 70% in one year.

CRE is on the rise! The CDC states that it’s propagated by improper hand sanitization, casual contact with affected patients, and the indiscriminant use of medical devices.

The spread takes on regional significance when affected patients receive care in different healthcare settings—such as, transitioning a patient from a hospital to a short-term or long-term care facility. In this way, the patient contaminates several facilities with the same antibiotic-resistant infection.

The simple solution is for healthcare institutions to follow the CDC’s guidelines for hand and device hygiene and to implement proper patient contact precautions.

Although CRE will not be eradicated until new, more effective antibiotics are available, the incidence of CRE could be greatly reduced.

Thoughts? Comments? I’d love to hear them!

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Deadly CRE Invasion! < A New Medical Disaster Plot Idea For Writers #ASMSG #WritersRT #AuthorsRT #SNRTG

About James J. Murray, Fiction Writer

With experience in both pharmaceutical manufacturing and clinical patient management, medications and their impact on one’s quality of life have been my expertise. My secret passion of murder and mayhem, however, is a whole other matter. I’ve always loved reading murder mysteries and thrillers, and longed to weave such tales of my own. Drawing on my clinical expertise as a pharmacist and my infatuation with the lethal effects of drugs, my tales of murder, mayhem and medicine will have you looking over your shoulder and suspicious of anything in your medicine cabinet.
This entry was posted in About James J. Murray, About Medications/Pharmacy, Antibiotic Overuse, Antibiotic Resistance, Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria, Antibiotics in Agriculture, Blog Trends, Blogging, Carbapenem Resistant Bacteria, CDC Plan to Prevent Superbugs, CRE, CRE Prevention, CRE Tool Kit, Developing Story Plots, Developing Storyline Ideas, Drug Resistant Bacteria, Drug Resistant Carbapenem Bacteria, Lethal Bacteria, Over-Prescribing of Antibiotics, Patient Therapy Outcomes, Pharmacy/Pharmaceuticals, Plot Ideas and Where They Come From, Superbug Epidemic, Superbugs and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Deadly CRE Invasion!

  1. Hi James
    Once again, a great post! It needs to be a mandatory component of all medical school training, and physician updates around the world. Thank you for continuing efforts to enlighten us. Extremely valuable and much appreciated.

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