CDC issues Vital Signs report on CRE and urges action to stop their spread

On Tuesday, March 5, 2013, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a Vital Signreport on carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) with a call to action for the entire healthcare community to work urgently to protect patients from these life-threatening bacteria.

During the last decade, CDC has tracked one type of CRE from a single healthcare facility to healthcare facilities in at least 42 states. CRE have been associated with a mortality rate of up to 50 percent, are becoming increasingly resistant to last-resort antibiotics, and are causing infections that are impossible to cure in hospitalized patients, the CDC reports. In addition to spreading β-lactam/carbapenem resistance among patients, CRE often carry genes that can be transferred to other bacteria, potentially leading to additional types of bacteria becoming resistant.

The Vital Signs report explains that the percentage of Enterobacteriaceae that are CRE increased by fourfold in the past decade.  A resistant form of Klebsiella pneumoniae, one type of CRE, has shown a sevenfold increase in the last decade.  The CDC’s press release noted that during the first half of 2012, almost 200 hospitals and long-term acute care facilities treated at least one patient infected with these bacteria.