The Centers for Disease Control is warning doctors that an untreatable multidrug-resistant “superbug” is emerging in the United States.
According to Fox News
, it comes from a bacteria called Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriacea (CRE), and of the 37 forms reported in the country, 15 have been seen in the last year.
The increased resistance and rise in cases means health care providers must “act aggressively to prevent the emergence and spread of these unusual CRE organisms,” the CDC said.
The infections are associated with mortality rates of 40 to 50 percent.
“From the perspective of drug-resistant organisms, CRE is the most serious threat, the most serious challenge we face to patient safety,” Arjun Srinivasan, associate director for prevention of health-care associated infections at the CDC, told USA Today.
The rare bacteria typically lives in the soil, water, and the human gut, and is resistant to most antibiotics. Patients who are infected with it usually don’t show symptoms but can develop pneumonia, kidney, bladder, and bloodstream infections.
There is no effective treatment for CRE infections, but the CDC said that health-care providers who encounter them should follow its recommendations in the 2012 CRE toolkit.
It can take more than a year to be rid of the bacteria; one study found it took the average patient 387 days to eliminate it from their system.
“We’re working with state health departments to try to figure out how big a problem this is,” said Srinivasan. “We’re still at a point where we can stop this thing. You can never eradicate CRE, but we can prevent the spread. It’s a matter of summoning the will.”
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