The CDC has released some startling statistics. They say half the people who are infected with carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae--or CRE--die from the dangerous bacteria. Medical experts tell us the reason it's so deadly is because it's resistant to antibiotics.
In 2001, a mere 1.2% of Enterobacteriaceae were resistant to antibiotics. As of 2011, that number was up over to over 4%.
"The CRE strains that we're dealing with now, we think probably came out of India," says Dr. Skip Nolan, UMC's Epidemiologist. "And individuals from Great Britain would go to India to have cut-rate surgeries and actually bring it back to Great Britain and just with international travel, it spread worldwide."
All it takes is for one patient to bring CRE to a hospital or a nursing home.
"A busy physician who has 30 patients in the hospital has an opportunity to touch 30 different patients during the day and has an opportunity to spread it at least 30 times if not more," says Dr. Nolan.
Dr. Nolan says right now, it's not required that hospitals and nursing homes publish their drug-resistant infections.
UMC has a very active Infection Prevention Department.
"We make sure that the rooms are clean," explains Elham Ghonim, the Director of the Infection Prevention Department. "We do environmental cultures meaning that we can swab any surface and send it to the lab to see if it grew bacteria or not."
The most important thing you can do to prevent the spread of CRE:
"The mainstay in preventing spread to a loved one in a nursing home or hospital is assuring that the people taking care of your loved one wash their hands," says Dr. Nolan. "You have a right to ask them to wash their hands before they touch your loved one."
Dr. Nolan says this is going to get worse before it gets better. He says there's not much research and development devoted to antibiotics.
Not everyone is at-risk. People who have weakened immune systems or chronic illnesses have the highest risk.
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