Deadly, Drug-Resistant CRE Infections on the Rise

March 20, 2013 | Strategic Insights for Health System


Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) infections are “on the rise” in U.S. healthcare facilities, according to a March 2013 Vital Signs report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In the first half of 2012, 4% of U.S. hospitals and 18% of long-term acute care hospitals reported having at least one patient with a CRE infection. The bacteria are part of a normal, healthy digestive system but can cause infection when they enter areas where they do not belong, such as the bladder or bloodstream. When the bacteria are resistant to all or almost all antibiotics currently available (including last-resort antibiotics such as carbapenem), they are called CRE. Almost all CRE infections occur in people receiving serious medical care. In particular, use of devices (e.g., central venous catheters, endotracheal tubes, urinary catheters, ventilators) is associated with resistance.

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