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The largest outbreak to date of one strain of what authorities have called "nightmare bacteria" is adding to concerns about the spread of such drug-resistant bugs.
The outbreak, centered on a hospital in a Chicago suburb, has infected 44 people in Illinois over the past year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. The bug, known as carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae, bears a rare enzyme that breaks down antibiotics.
How are CRE spread? To get a CRE infection, a person must be exposed to CRE germs. CRE germs are usually spread person to person through contact with infected or colonized people, particularly contact with wounds or stool. CRE can cause infections when they enter the body, often through medical devices like ventilators, intravenous catheters, urinary catheters, or wounds caused by injury or surgery. Who is most likely to get an infection with CRE? Healthy people usually don’t get CRE infections. CRE primarily affect patients in acute and long-term healthcare settings, who are being treated for another condition. CRE are more likely to affect those patients who have compromised immune systems or have invasive devices like tubes going into their body. Use of certain types of antibiotics might also make it more likely for patients to get CRE. Can CRE be treated? Many people with CRE will have the germ in or on their body without it producing an infection. These people are said to be colonized with CRE, and they do not need antibiotics for the CRE. If the CRE are causing an infection, the antibiotics that will work against it are limited but some options are often available. In addition, some infections might be able to be treated with other therapies, like draining the infection. Strains that have been resistant to all antibiotics are very rare but have been reported.
Thus far, CRE has been a primarily nosocomial infectious agent. Currently, almost all CRE infections occur in people receiving significant medical care in hospitals, long-term acute care facilities, or nursing homes.
They determined that the main reservoirs for these CRE-resistant bacteria were the ICU sinks, and that inappropriate cleaning methods accounted for the primary method of transmission from sink to sink. Furthermore, the environmental strains of the CRE bacteria were the same strains infecting the patients in the ICU, as determined from genetic analysis. This demonstrates that at risk patients were being infected in the hospital setting.
Illinois likes its poop based outbreaks. Here in my town in Illinois we had a fecal matter based parasite (cryptosporidium) in the public pool. It was shut down and never opened back up. It made a bunch of folks sick, hospitalized some, and normal chlorine/pool chemicals DOES NOT kill this parasite.
Fecal matter is everywhere. People are just gross.
reply to post by ChesterJohn
That is interesting in a scary sort of way.
Hubby works in the biological side of animal pharma (vaccines not antibiotics). I'll have to ask him what he thinks about this. He knows far more about bugs and what they do than I do. (accept this as a scary smiley)