The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention has identified a potentially fatal antibiotic resistant bacterium which has surfaced in over 200 U.S. hospitals and long-term care facilities. The bacterium named Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) has contributed to patient mortality in nearly 50% of individuals which become infected. CRE are in a family of more than 70 bacteria called enterobacteriaceae, including Klebsiella pneumoniae and E. coli, which are typically found in the gastro-intestinal tract.
Who is at risk?
Patients whose care requires devices such as ventilators, urinary catheters, or intravenous catheters, have a prolonged hospital stay, and patients who are taking long courses of certain antibiotics are among those at risk for CRE infections.
Implications for practice:
Educate your patients to:
- The overuse of antibiotics contributes to the development of highly resistant bacteria
- CRE bacteria can transfer their antibiotic resistance to other bacteria of the same type
- Antibiotics are ineffective which leads to potentially untreatable infections
- Inform your healthcare provider if you have been hospitalized in another facility or country
- Take antibiotics only as prescribed
- Ask all healthcare providers towash their hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub before and after touching your body
- Clean your own hands often, especially:
Recommended best practice:
- Before preparing or eating food
- Before touching your eyes, nose, or mouth
- Before and after changing wound dressings or bandages or handling medical devices
- After using the bathroom
To reduce spread of CRE bacteria, the CDC requests health-care facilities take the following preventative steps:
- Strictly enforce infection-control precautions
- Cohort patients and segregate equipment after CRE exposure
- Communicate to facilities when patients with CRE are transferred
- Safely prescribe antibiotics
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