CDC Issues Report On Deadly Bacteria

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The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) issued a press release on March 5 calling attention to a highly dangerous family of bacteria, Carbapanem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae – CRE, which kills up to half of patients who get bloodstream infections from them.  During the first half of 2012 approximately 18 percent of LTC facilities treated a patient with a CRE infection during that time.  The bacteria are noted to be increasingly resistant to antibiotics and can be spread easily, including from the hands of health care personnel. A CRE prevention toolkit, complete with in-depth recommendations for long term and post-acute care facilities, is available on the CDC website. The full press release, CDC: Action needed now to halt spread of deadly bacteria, includes additional information.  

The findings, published in the CDC’s Vital Signs report, are a call to action for the entire health care community to work urgently to protect patients.  In 2012, CDC released a concise, practical CRE prevention toolkit with in-depth recommendations for hospitals, long term acute care facilities, nursing homes and health departments. Key recommendations include:

  • enforcing use of infection control precautions (standard and contact precautions)
  • grouping patients with CRE together
  • dedicating staff, rooms and equipment to the care of patients with CRE whenever possible
  • having facilities alert each other when patients with CRE transfer back and forth
  • asking patients whether they have recently received care somewhere else (including another country)
  • using antibiotics wisely

In addition, CDC recommends screening patients in certain scenarios to determine if they are carrying CRE. Because of the way CRE can be carried by patients from one health care setting to another, CDC encourages facilities to work together regionally to implement CRE prevention programs.